Punit Bhatia

Privacy and Ethics

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How can companies embed privacy and ethics into corporate culture? And what is the correlation between privacy and ethics? Let's understand this with the special guest, professor Edson Prestes, who has been on the United Nations Secretary General’s digital corporation committee.

As the number of people using the Internet has grown, there is an increase in the necessity for data privacy. In order to deliver services, websites, software, and social media platforms frequently collect and store personal data about users. Some programs and platforms, on the other hand, may go beyond users' expectations in terms of data gathering and utilization, leaving them with less privacy than they anticipated. Other apps and platforms may not put enough controls in place to protect the data they collect, which could lead to a data breach that threatens user privacy.

Therefore, data privacy becomes an important element in protecting the data from external and internal threats but also when determining what digitally stored data can be shared and with whom. As everything relating to privacy cannot be addressed in privacy laws, the role of ethics is equally important.

What is Privacy?

Privacy is the choice of sharing. Edson explains “you only want to share a particular set of information. For instance, you can share your address but don’t want to share any political views or your religion. So the freedom to select exactly what information you need to provide is privacy”

The Relevance and Importance Of Privacy

In modern world, its all about data. This means our privacy is all about protection of security of data that relates to us. Data protection refers to a set of techniques and procedures for ensuring the privacy, availability, and integrity of your information.

Any organization that gathers, processes, or stores sensitive data must have a data protection plan. A good data protection plan can aid in the prevention of data loss, theft, or corruption, as well as the mitigation of harm caused by a breach or disaster.

When you think of GDPR, what is the one word that comes to your mind?

Edson chooses the word “Protection“. According to him “the information that you provide, should not be shared with unauthorized users. Basically GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) is one of the most robust privacy rules in the world.”

It allows users to inquire about how their personal data is gathered and stored, as well as how it is used, and to request that their data be destroyed. Companies must also clearly explain how their data is handled and utilized, as well as obtain your consent before collecting it. In this context, "personal data" includes items like a person's name, email address, and IP address, as well as pseudonymized information that can be traced back to them.

People can also refuse to have their personal data used for specific purposes, such as direct marketing. Unlike the Data Protection Directive, the GDPR is relevant to any globally operating company, not just those located in the EU.

GDPR is fine. But How To Protect Privacy in AI and data science World?

The difficulty of understanding and enforcing privacy norms isn't new, but it's become more important in recent years due to the rapid advancement of AI. Unstructured text and photos, for example, would have been meaningless just a decade ago but are now a gold mine of information. Should businesses be allowed to exploit data they obtained while its value was restricted, now that its value has increased?

To protect our data in the current economic situations Edson’s says “any system that accesses information through the internet should have some firewalls some this computational system to avoid disaster access. It is observed that this system relies on you and the user part and also in the company paths that is very important to make this model work because you might not want others or third parties to access the information that using your computer. However, when I provide this information to third-party companies these companies should protect should guarantee that any unauthorized user has access to my information”

The limitations and failures of AI systems, such as predictive policing that could disproportionately affect minorities or Amazon's failed experiment with a hiring algorithm that replicated the company's existing disproportionately male workforce, are frequently brought up in the context of the privacy debate.

It's critical that the algorithms and machine learning systems that customer-facing apps rely on upon be reliable. After all, they are the fortress where we save our most personal information.

The Role of Ethics in the Corporate World

According to Edson, when you are thinking about ethics, ethical stories might come to your mind and we do not have absolute ethics, as we live in a diverse world of different cultures and religions.

He states that responsible innovation is the most important thing. Because responsibilities innovation should not impact negatively people's life so we need to understand that you are a different person.

Ethics is to see the community, understand the diversity, and try to think about the solution or set of solutions that could be adapted to different realities—Edson

Ethics is not some set of rules based on laws. Ethics is based on goodness and goodness is not bound by one’s definition. It is free-flowing but has its intrinsic wisdom.

For the corporates, it is the set of practices that companies use to guide them through decisions about negotiations and deals, corporate social responsibility, and more. Without a strong set of ethics, a business can run afoul of the law. But good business ethics ensure customers, employees, and other stakeholders that a company obeys the rules and does the right thing

How Can Companies Embed Ethics In Corporate Structure?

According to Edson, first, if they identify some core values in principle that should be pursued during the development of new technology because all these elements will have an impact on the end-user like as a discussion about the social implication. The social implication could be for instance unbalancing in the selector in the selection of potential employees, could be discrimination could be an impact on the environment. And because of the competition of power that they have processing system could perform. So what are the main values that the company should pursue, no discrimination fairness in the decision, sustainability protection of the elderly, protection of the children like uh traceability, and transparency are examples the value.

Ensuring Privacy vs Ensuring Security

According to Edson, Privacy is extremely important when you know what you are exactly sharing and what kind of processing they are doing with your data. Sometimes you can share lots of personal data but you don’t know about the processing of your data. There is a guarantee of privacy but not about processing.


The future of data privacy appears to be one of increased investment, structure, and, most likely, regulation combined with ethics. All of this is geared at ensuring user security while maintaining a positive user experience. Privacy is extremely important in this digital era and users should have the right to know about their personal shared data.

About Punit Bhatia

Punit Bhatia is one the leading privacy experts and is the founder and CEO of FIT4PRIVACY. He and his team work with business and privacy leaders to create an organizational culture with high privacy awareness and compliance as a business priority. Punit is the author of various privacy books including “Be Ready for GDPR” and “AI & Privacy”. Punit has been a speaker at over 50 global events. Punit is also the creator and host of the FIT4PRIVACY Podcast, one of the top privacy podcasts.

About Edson Prestes

Edson Prestes is Full Professor at Institute of Informatics of the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. Edson is Senior Member of the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society (IEEE RAS) and IEEE Standards Association (IEEE SA). Over the past years, he has been working in several initiatives related to Standardisation, Artificial Intelligence, Robotics and Ethics. For instance, Edson is Member of the United Nations Secretary-General’s High-level Panel on Digital Cooperation, co-chaired by Melinda Gates and Jack Ma; Member of the UNESCO Ad Hoc Expert Group for the Recommendation on the Ethics of Artificial Intelligence; South America Ambassador at IEEE Tech Ethics; Chair of the IEEE RAS/SA 7007 - Ontologies for Ethically Driven Robotics and Automation Systems Working Group (IEEE 7007 WG); Vice-Chair of the IEEE RAS/SA Ontologies for Robotics and Automation Working Group (ORA WG); and member of several international committees and advisory boards.



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