Ethical and societal implications of Data Science

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Cristina Pepato

01 January 2017

31 December 2019

EC funded project


The main objective of the Coordination and Support Action e-SIDES is to complement the research on privacy-preserving big data technologies, by analysing, mapping and clearly identifying the main societal and ethical challenges emerging from the adoption of big data technologies, conforming to the principles of responsible research and innovation; setting up and organizing a sustainable dialogue between industry, research and social actors, as well as networking with the main Research and Innovation Actions and Large Scale Pilots and other framework programme projects interested in these issues.

Who is the project designed for?

The main stakeholder segments targeted indicatively include:

  • Public Sector: this includes governments and policy makers at the EU, national and regional/local level: the starting list includes representatives of the national Data Protection Authorities, of the national big data research programs, of open data public portals, but also of PPPs, for example engaged in smart cities or Industry 4.0 plans.
  • Industry: this will include representatives of ICT vendors, of leading ICT users and start-ups or SMEs, selected from IDC’s lists of contacts, the several hundred actors active in the EU Data Landscape online portal managed on behalf of the European Data Market project as well as the database of Europe-headquartered data economy actors maintained within the scope of the EuDEco project.
  • Industry and professional associations: through multiplier organizations with an EU presence and national members and associates. Through the EU secretary generals and coordinators of these associations, we will be able to reach out to a representative sample of national and local actors active in privacy-related issues. The partners are also well connected with the Big Data Value Association.
  • Civil society: consumers associations, NGOs, special needs associations, organisations engaged in the support of immigrants, ethnic minorities (for the discrimination issues, for example).

How is your project benefitting the end-user?

In order to strengthen the position of Europe as a provider of products and services, advances in key industrial ecosystems, particularly with regard to big data technologies, are required for the data value chain, the content value chain and the knowledge value chain. These objectives require confidence of citizens towards big data technologies and data markets.

The data value chain requires a willingness to share and use data. e-SIDES is based on the assumption that improving the dialogue between data subjects and big data communities will improve confidence in big data technologies. 

This sums up the two main goals of e-SIDES, i.e., to realise appropriate consideration and attention for ethical and societal issues in big data technologies and to improve the dialogue between data subjects and big data communities and, thereby, to improve the confidence of citizens towards big data technologies and data markets.

Furthermore, e-SIDES has mapped the ramifications of using diverse security technologies in Data Science, showing the strengths and weaknesses and helping developers choose the right technologies for their implementations. e-SIDES looks at typical pitfalls and highlights the implications when problems arise helping developers avoid common drawbacks.

Please briefly describe the results your project achieved so far

e-SIDES has successfully delivered 16 workshops, and produced the following deliverables and outputs:

What are the next steps for your project?

e-SIDES has recently held its Final Community Event "Beyond Privacy: Learning Data Ethics - European Big Data Community Forum" in Brussels on November 14th, 2019. The event, supported by the Big Data Value PPP, was co-organised together with four EU-funded research projects focused on privacy protection technologies, transparency and legal compliance: MyHealthMyDataSODASPECIALWeNet, and has been the culmination of 3 years of work dealing with the social and legal challenges of Big Data and promoting RRI for a human-centered Big Data.

By bringing together the community active in big data research, policy and industry, the occasion was particularly relevant in order to drive forward the discussion on how best to deal with ethical challenges in big data, also in view of the rise of AI, by making attendees aware of all the most recent discussions and practical guidelines about ethical principles.

Event presentations

During the event, the e-SIDES project representatives also presented the Community Position Paper collaboratively produced on the project online platform, which has collected community opinions related to the debate on how big data solutions can be developed and used in a responsible way, paying particular attention to the potential of privacy-preserving technologies. 

The event report and final version of the Community Position Paper will be available SOON!


Vertical Category:

Past Events


Deliverable 5.1 Assessment of Existing Technologies Under Development
Deliverable 4.2 Overview of design requirements
Deliverable 4.1 Results of the gap analysis
Deliverable D3.2 Assessment of Existing Technologies
Deliverable 3.1 Overview of Existing Technologies
Deliverable 2.2 Lists of ethical, legal, societal and economic issues of big data technologies
Deliverable 2.1 Refined Research Framework

White Papers

Implications of the General Data Protection Regulation - A Media Analysis
Privacy-preserving technologies are not widely integrated into big data solutions. What are the reasons for this implementation gap?
How effective are privacy-preserving technologies in addressing ethical and societal issues?
Which data technologies play a key role to preserve privacy and security?
Real-life Examples of Big Data Implications