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Scottish Government sets up Digital Ethics People’s Panel

30/03/21

Mark Say Managing Editor

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The Scottish Government’s Digital Directorate has set up a ‘people’s panel’ to contribute to the ethical use of digital technology and data in public services.

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It is working on the project with the Digital Futures Team at the Carnegie UK Trust and Involve, charities focused on the public good and public participation.

The Digital Ethics People’s Panel comprises 30 people from across Scotland with a mix of digital skills levels recruited through a random postal mailing.

It was due to met four times face-to-face during 2020, but this was delayed by the pandemic lockdown and the directorate has now made plans to run its sessions virtually. It will convene across six weekly blocks until the summer to discuss the various issues around digital ethics.

Among the issues to be discussed are digital inclusion, the opportunities and threats in digital technology and environmental considerations.

First step

“Given the small size of the panel it is of course limited in how representative the views can be, but we envision this project as a first step and hope the process of citizen engagement continues to be built upon,” the directorate said.

It has also set up a National Digital Ethics Expert Group to which the panel will feed its conclusions, and which in turn will provide recommendations to the Scottish Government.

This has already held discussions on issues including big data, privacy, online harms and the digital economy.

Image from iStock, 3D-generator

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