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Confederation of Danish Industry (DI) and Finansforbundet put forward recommendations for ethical use of data

In an increasingly digitalised world, data ethics have the potential to secure a position of strength for Denmark. This is the opinion of Finansforbundet and the country's largest employers' and business organisation, the Confederation of Danish Industry. Now, the two organisations present 14 joint data ethics recommendations.

27. Jun 2023
3 min
English / Dansk

There is a need for ethical ground rules on how companies and society may use data about customers, employees and citizens in, for example, product development, management and public digitalisation solutions. In an increasingly digitalised world, data ethics have the potential to secure a position of strength for Denmark.

This is the opinion of the country's largest employers' and business organisation, the Confederation of Danish Industry, and the trade union Finansforbundet, which organises employees in the financial sector. Today, the two organisations present 14 joint data ethics recommendations.

"We need to boost the development of data ethics technology now, because we cannot afford not to. Therefore, we have joined forces to introduce some ground rules for how Denmark and Danish companies reach their goals with respect to responsible use of technology and data," says Andreas Holbak Espersen, Head of Digitalisation Policy at DI.

The 14 recommendations from DI and Finansforbundet are targeted at politicians, companies and industry organisations and have been developed on the basis of a series of meetings under the auspices of the 'Strategic Data Ethics Forum', attended by leading organisations and companies with a broad perspective on the topic.

"The ethical issue related to data is extensive and requires joint solutions. We are therefore pleased that so many strong partners have discussed the topic looking at it from different angles, engaging in trusting and honest dialogue. Against this background, we are able to make specific recommendations to both companies and political decision-makers with respect to a key challenge for our society," says Kent Petersen, President of Finansforbundet.

Political recommendations:
  1. Favourable framework for companies' data ethics efforts – in Denmark and in the EU
  2. Data ethics as a competitive parameter
  3. Make a targeted effort to accelerate companies' data ethics initiatives
  4. Introduce a coherent educational initiative implementing digital skills and technological understanding
  5. Privacy by design and data ethics constituting a position of strength for Denmark
Recommendations for organisations:
  1. Data ethics should be anchored in the management
  2. Use existing tools
  3. Employee involvement ensures trust and safety at the workplace
  4. A data ethics policy for the collection and use of employee data
  5. Upskilling in data ethics, responsible use of data and new technologies
What we will do:
  1. Grant of data ethics award
  2. Guidance for organisations
  3. Establishment of a supplier network for responsible digitalisation, which will translate data ethical principles into practical principles of real business value
  4. Enter into dialogue and propose balanced solutions for the use of employee data and digital HR and management tools for legislative and contractual purposes.

Data ethics constitute a position of strength for Denmark

The recommendations are based on an increasingly digital reality, in which the amount of data grows exponentially in line with the use of, for example, artificial intelligence, but where the lack of clarity may undermine the trust of citizens, customers and employees.

A targeted effort within data ethics in a thoroughly digitalised society like the Danish has the potential to secure a position of strength for the country. According to the recommendations, this requires prioritisation by companies, but also the establishment of a political task force in the area.

"In our position as an employers' association and a trade union, we cannot risk that Denmark falls behind the technology development. Trust is the glue of our digital society, and we have a common task of making data ethics an international competitive parameter for companies in Denmark. And very often, responsible use of data and artificial intelligence is about data ethics. Consequently, data ethics could be an approach to digitalisation which will help remove the fear and uncertainty," says Andreas Holbak Espersen.

"Data ethics is not about limiting data, but about putting data into play in a way that benefits society, companies and us as citizens."

This requires increased political prioritisation of the topic, but also a sharper focus, by companies, on integration, processes and skills," says Kent Petersen.

Employee data policy

Therefore, DI Digital and Finansforbundet recommend that workplaces introduce a policy for the collection of employee data.

"When workplaces introduce new technologies and digital solutions, they may, for example, help improve productivity and job satisfaction, identify skills shortages and pinpoint training needs. Increased use of data will increase job satisfaction as long as it is based on transparency and participation. But the use of employee data will increase dissatisfaction if an employee experiences that data are being used for monitoring and control, says Finansforbundet.

Protect the right to privacy by default

Finansforbundet and DI Digital also propose that the public sector take the lead, giving high priority to incorporation of data ethics and privacy by design into public digital solutions, that is, solutions with privacy inherent by default.

"It helps to promote responsibility as a position of strength for companies in Denmark as the demand for data ethical solutions becomes greater. This could be supported by a requirement for data ethics in public contracts for digital solutions, which would also make data ethics a strong competitive parameter for companies, and here, it would be natural for the authorities to pay attention to the D label, which is a labelling system that sets requirements for data ethics," says Andreas Holbak Espersen.

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In a digitised society, thousands of data trails are stored every single day. How do we achieve transparency of the type of data being stored at the workplace? And what these data are used for? Get knowledge and inspiration here.

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