Sustainability Principles for Data Ethics: An Explorative Research

5 Pages Posted: 10 Jun 2020

Date Written: May 16, 2020


Digital world deserves a balance, while over period we expect most of the civilization on earth will adopt to digital world, it may still not be in equilibrium. There may be some who would have evolved with power of digital and some who would have not. Power will always have an imbalance, by its nature, with economics and politics on one side and rights and transparency on other. Digital world’s two key pillars are Data and technology. These pillars shall be used to bridge the existing societal / economic gaps, but not to extend them. Hence its pertinent to consider Data and Technology as key sustainability principles. Sustainability principle does not limit itself to environment, but expands to its varied sects of people.

Sustainability principles focus on (a) Current and future potential to meet human needs and aspirations, (b) Socio-economic process contributing to transparency, (c) Equitable distribution of benefits, (d) Developing and building a balanced environment, through human ecosystem equilibrium. These principles are relatable to data and technology as well. When adopted as part of sustainability, data and technology will evolve to Green Data and Green Technology.

Green Data and Green Technology is a social economic process for the pursuit of common ideal. While this is not discussed or explored in today’s environment, it will be inevitable for us to adopt it to preserve the world for our future generation.

As reflected in professional responsibility principle of Principled Artificial Intelligence ( Berkman klein, March 2020), its responsibility of professionals to protect, preserve and enrich the world.

While, certainty of the direction that data ethics evolves cannot be predicted the predicated argument of data ethics moving towards sustainability appears plausible. This research could thereby allow future deliberations around Green Data/ Green technology.

Keywords: Sustainability, Technology, Ethics, Data ethics, socio-economic, human ecosystem, equitable distribution

Suggested Citation

Narayanan, Sundar, Sustainability Principles for Data Ethics: An Explorative Research (May 16, 2020). Available at SSRN: or

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