22 May 2023

Research report: Data ethics approaches among Australian organisations


There’s no consensus among Australian organisations on how to approach the challenge of AI and data ethics, new research by elevenM has found.

Public focus on ethical and safe uses of data and technology has intensified recently, especially following the release and rapid uptake of technologies such as generative AI tools like ChatGPT and facial recognition.

While major Australian organisations are very much aware of and attuned to the challenge, there’s by no means any consensus on the best ways to tackle it.

This was a key finding of elevenM’s recent research project (download below) exploring how Australian organisations are approaching the challenge of data ethics.

Be-it establishing their own set of data or AI ethics principles, creating a data ethics committees, developing ethics impact assessments or expanding the scope of existing privacy and data governance processes to include ethical and safety considerations – businesses are drawing on a range of ideas to help shape better and more responsible uses of technology.

About elevenM’s data ethics research project

We embarked on this research project as we had become aware of the increasing relevance of this topic for many of our clients, but saw a dearth of information about how Australian businesses and government agencies are practically addressing it.

Our research involved interviewing representatives from ten public and private organisations spanning industries including healthcare, financial services, retail and insurance.

We gleaned insights into several key questions including:

  • Why data ethics is an emerging focus for organisations
  • What does data ethics actually mean to organisations
  • What are the organisational drivers for data ethics
  • What are the practical approaches being implemented
  • How is data ethics enforced
  • What are the common challenges in advancing data ethics

One of the key findings in our research was that organisations were adopting practices and approaches that best fit their needs, priorities, culture and level of maturity.

Put another way, the pursuit of data ethics wasn’t about imposing a set of fixed or standard requirements on an organisation or its practices. Rather, data ethics might be thought of as a set of processes or guiding frameworks that help an organisation to ask itself the right questions, have the right conversations and – in doing so – allow its ethical intuitions and that of its employees to find their voice as they navigate new digital initiatives and data projects.

You can download the report by clicking the button below. We look forward to sharing further insights and hosting further discussions on how Australian businesses can tackle this challenge in the future.

Contact us

Reach out to elevenM for guidance on data ethics and building frameworks to guide safe and ethical uses of data and technology within your organisation. Contact us via email hello@elevenM.com.au or phone 1300 003 922.