Data Ethics 


The Data Ethics SIG is a newly formed special interest group of the Royal Statistical Society that was established in 2018. The SIG includes representatives from various RSS Sections, media communicators, governance structures and academic interests. It was formed to address emerging topics in the burgeoning data ethics landscape, including coordinating the broad RSS interest in data stewardship and following up the RSS Data Manifesto proposal for a council on data ethics.

Additional information

Annual report: Annual report 2018

Mailing list: Data Ethics SIG 
Twitter: @RSS_DE_SIG


The remit of the Data Ethics SIG is to be a focus for data ethics across the RSS. The SIG will organise meetings for a broad range of attendees and engaging with Sections, particularly Data Science Section on topics such as algorithms. The SIG will work to enhance the visibility of ethical issues about data that do not relate to ‘artificial intelligence’ (AI) and produce outputs:

  • Promoting good practice by addressing what good data stewardship and ethical practices look like (with exemplars) and what they do not look like.
  • Promoting the statistical aspects of data e.g. coverage, bias and stochastic rather than deterministic thinking
  • Being a trusted voice on data ethics, including inputting to consultation exercises
  • Coordinating data ethics interests across the RSS, throughout the UK landscape, and offering international leadership
  • Promoting the skills development of data ethics across all career stages and disciplines
  • Lifting the quality of the conversation and raising standards of transparent public engagement
  • Fostering multi-disciplinary connections and the exchanging of ideas
  • Concluding by the end of 2020 to recommend forming a new Section or winding up.


Chair: Peter Elias
Secretary: Tom King

Committee members

Mark Elliot
Timandra Harkness
Katie Harron
Paul Hewson
Kevin McConway
Samantha McGregor
Madeleine Murtagh
Job de Roji
Nicola Stingelin
Cathal Walsh
Christopher Exeter (co-opted)
Donald Simeon (co-opted)

Future meetings

You can see our upcoming meetings on the events calendar.

News and meetings reports

Read the latest news and meeting reports.

Reviewing the data ethics landscape

The Data Ethics SIG has begun its work by reviewing the landscape and produced a paper for member feedback and discussion. We have looked at where the SIG could focus, working with others, developing training and engaging the public. This is complex and relevant to many different statistical applications so we want to work with Sections, as well as external groups. Please send your comments to the committee at

Paper: Data Ethics Landscape (PDF)