Data Ethics refers to principles and values to be respected in the processing of personal data. It goes beyond legal compliance and focuses on emerging issues and concerns related to the processing of personal data. Due to its constant novelty, Data Ethics is gaining interests among academics, companies and EU regulators.
Data ethics poses questions related to the general theory of privacy and data protection laws, investigates the relationship between data processing practices and inferences (e.g. ‘clustering’) and principles (e.g. ‘data minimisation’, ‘fair processing’, ‘equality’), and discusses the impact of algorithms in data subjects’ informational sphere (e.g. their ‘explicability’). To do so, it adopts a cross-disciplinary methodology that involves technical, legal and philosophical contributions.
Data Ethics is needed every time conflicting interests (e.g. Intellectual Property Rights vis-à-vis data subjects’ rights related to access, portability and automated decision-making) are in place and striking a balance between them is needed. At the University of Luxembourg, in collaboration with CIRSFID at the University of Bologna, research is currently exploring the domain of food safety, a multi-stakeholder environment in which personal and non-personal data coexist to ensure a high standard of protection for public health and the fundamental right to a ‘safe’ food.