The Data and Intelligence Network has made a commitment to develop trusted systems for using data in an ethical and responsible way. This ethics workbook has been designed to complement existing information governance systems and legislation whilst also capturing deeper socioethical questions.
Managing the Covid-19 pandemic effectively means understanding the impact of the virus at national, local and individual level. The pandemic is more than just a health crisis, it is also a social and economic crisis that is causing harm on an unprecedented scale. This requires difficult decisions to be made to reconcile these various interrelated harms in order to minimise overall harm. It is also important to recognise that while the virus can affect everyone, the harms caused do not impact everyone equally. This means that using and linking data to understand all of the impacts is vital if we are to protect human rights overall and those most at risk.
This ethics workbook is designed to provide a means to address the moral dilemmas that are presented in reconciling the privacy, rights and freedoms of people in Scotland with the rapid, proactive and responsible use of information to manage the pandemic. It allows you to assess not only if the project is being carried out in the right way, but for the right reasons. The completion of the ethics workbook is likely to be an iterative approach, and we anticipate that you will revisit the workbook at key stages across the challenge/project/programme lifecycle.
The questions in this workbook do not intend to duplicate any existing information governance processes. We do encourage you to reference any additional documentation or internal processes (e.g. Data Protection Impact Assessments) where appropriate to support your answers.
We also recognise that the scale and scope of projects undertaken by the Data and Intelligence Network vary widely: some are limited in scope and can expect to be completed in hours or days, while others will have a profound and potentially long term impact on end-users. The workbook is designed to help the challenge owner to identify the scale of work as well as the risks and benefits early in the process so that ethics, transparency and public involvement can properly be taken into account and be proportionate.
For more information, please reference the Data and Intelligence Network's Ethics Framework.
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