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DMBoK Figure 13 Ethical Risk Model for Sampling Projects

Projects that use personal data should have a disciplined approach to the use of that data. They should account for:

  • How they select their population for study (arrow 1)

  • How data will be captured (arrow 2)

  • What activities analytics will focus on (arrow 3)

  • How the results will be made accessible (arrow 4)

Within each area of consideration, they should address potential ethical risks, with a particular focus on possible negative effects on customers or citizens.


A risk model can be used to determine whether to execute the project. It will also influence how to execute the project. For example, the data will be made anonymous, the private information removed from the file, the security on the files tightened or confirmed, and a review of the local and other applicable privacy law reviewed with legal. Dropping customers may not be permitted under law if the organization is a monopoly in a jurisdiction, and citizens have no other provider options such as energy or water.


Because data analytics projects are complex, people may not see the ethical challenges. Organizations need to actively identify potential risks. They also need to protect whistleblowers who do see risks and raise concerns. Automated monitoring is not sufficient protection from unethical activities. People - the analysts themselves - need to reflect on possible bias. Cultural norms and ethics in the workplace influence corporate behavior - learn and use the ethical risk model. DAMA International encourages data professionals to take a professional stand, and present the risk situation to business leaders who may not have recognized the implications of particular uses of data and these implications in their work.



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