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This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-centre-for-data-ethics-and-innovation-cdei-2019-20-work-programme/the-centre-for-data-ethics-and-innovation-cdei-2019-20-work-programme
2019/ 20 Work Programme
The Work Programme for 19/20 sets out the CDEI’s focus in its first year of operation. Two large-scale reviews, on targeting and bias, were identified as areas where government action is likely to be needed and prioritised based on feedback from the government’s consultation. The Analyse and Anticipate function will identify and map the opportunities for strengthening ethical and innovative uses of data-driven technology and produce short thematic reports to respond to live issues. The Centre’s corporate functions have been established to support the operation of the organisation.
The 19/20 work programme will be carried out in the context of the Centre’s Terms of Reference and the Centre’s Strategy. This has been agreed with the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
approx 25% of resource
This review will focus on online targeting, investigating how data is used to shape people’s online environments via the personalisation and targeting of messages, content and services online. By “online targeting” we mean the identification of individuals or groups, using data about them (or about others who are like them) and their online behaviours and preferences, and the corresponding delivery of personalised messages, content or services to them online. Instances of online targeting can include online advertising, search or news feed optimisation, or personalised recommendations.
Through the review, we plan to explore where, how and why online targeting approaches are used, identify current and potential benefits and harms - to individuals and society - associated with them, and consider alternative governance frameworks that encourage responsible innovation and minimise risks of harm. We will conduct public dialogue exercises to test levels of public understanding and acceptance of uses of online targeting approaches.
We will also look in more detail at a number of different applications of online targeting in a variety of areas. We will seek to explore how these approaches can be applied positively and negatively in these areas, how organisations fulfil their obligations to use data responsibly, and how any gaps in existing governance frameworks might be best addressed.
We will work closely with other organisations who are undertaking similar work in this area, including DCMS, through its work addressing online harms and its review of online advertising regulation, the ICO and other sectoral regulators, public and private sector organisations carrying out online targeting activities, and academic and civil society organisations.
An interim report will be published by Summer 2019, and a final report, including recommendations to government, by December 2019.
approx 25% of resource
Using a literature review, applied technical research and public engagement workshops, we plan to investigate the issue of algorithmic bias in various sectors, which may include: financial services, local government, recruitment, and crime and justice. These sectors are likely to be chosen as 1) there is potential for the use of algorithmic decision making in these sectors, 2) decisions made in these sectors have significant impact on people’s lives, 3) there is a risk of algorithms generating or worsening biased decision making and 4) the corresponding potential for algorithms to address any existing bias in decision-making in these sectors.
Our approach is likely to focus on bias against characteristics protected under the Equality Act 2010, but we may extend the scope of the Review to understand bias against other characteristics such as digital literacy.
We plan to engage with stakeholders across the chosen sectors to build an understanding of current practice. We aim to support the development of technical means for identifying algorithmic bias that have scope to be applied across the chosen sectors, and produce recommendations to government about how any potential harms can be identified and minimised.
An interim report will be published by Summer 2019, and a final report, including recommendations to government, by March 2020.
Analyse and anticipate
Identification of highest priority opportunities and risks
approx 15% of resource
We will identify and analyse the highest priority opportunities and risks associated with data-driven technology within the Centre’s remit. This will be done by working in collaboration with academics, civil society, government and industry, and the Centre will host a programme of workshops and seminars to bring these key stakeholders together. Through these workshops and other engagements we will collate comparative judgments from experts on the application of data-driven technology in the UK. Beyond this, we will look to identify those trends and applications that are most likely to inspire, or undermine, public trust in data-driven technology.
This piece of work is intended to be a continuously-evolving, community-created view. It will not be exhaustive, but it will be sufficiently informative to identify priorities and guide the work of the Centre. This analysis of opportunities and risks will be responsive to changing circumstances throughout the year.
The first outputs from this area of work will be published in Autumn 2019, after which we will continue to expand and refine this function.
Responsive thematic projects
approx 10% of resource
We will retain some capacity to carry out short, thematic projects, on various topics identified as priorities. These projects are intended to respond to live issues, including public concerns, and will either seek to bring clarity to an issue or will highlight or assess potential solutions to a known challenge.
Preparation for state of the nation report 2020
approx 5% of resource
This report will be an overarching assessment of data use and the governance landscape, as set out in the Government’s response to its consultation on the Centre. From December 2019, we will (i) identify an appropriate scope for the ‘State of the Nation’ Report for 2020, and (ii) begin to draw together the content of the report.
Strategy and corporate
Strategy, governance, communications and business support
We have established various corporate functions, including strategy, governance, public engagement, and business support, to underpin our wider work. Our corporate functions will include budgeting, hiring and team management, providing a secretariat to the Board, developing our strategy and monitoring progress, managing the Centre’s relationship with government, ensuring effective collaboration and stakeholder management, and identifying, assessing and advising on the future form of the Centre including consideration of statutory functions and powers.