The 31st January 2014 article by Alex Howard in Tech Republic – “Data-driven policy and commerce requires algorithmic transparency” – warrants being read several times over and widely discussed.
At its heart, it is an argument against exactly what the title implies: that policy and commerce should not be driven by big data even if they are increasingly informed and helped by big data.
This theme – one that I have written and spoken about extensively over the years – is a theme to which I will return throughout this year with more focus – the issue of information technology governance and for a number of key reasons, some of which Alex also raises in his article:
- there is palpable public concern about the lack of oversight and governance of how certain technologies are used, even if such concerns are not articulated as such;
- the domain of IT governance is now recognized as a distinct area of concern within global standardization work, with the creation in November of a specific and explicit home for this work – the so-called “SC40”, a new group created within ISO and IEC’s global collaboration on information technology standards;
- there is still a lack of understanding between the very distinct roles of managing information technologies (very much a core senior IT function) and governing their use – very much not an “IT issue” but a broader societal, policy and, within organizations using IT, Board level issue.