Data Ethics at IRMS London - Oyster IMS

IRMS Data Protection, Privacy and Ethics Conference – 13 September 2019

I am very happy to report that Oyster IMS continued their long association with the Information and Records Management Society (IRMS) by sponsoring this one-day, high-brow conference held at law firm Taylor Wessing (who are incidentally a client of Oyster IMS).

And what an interesting day it was.  The broad theme was “It may be Legal, but is it Ethical?” and the IRMS had arranged a truly top class set of speakers to consider this question.  After a welcome from IRMS Conference Director, Joe Chapman, Daragh O’Brien kicked off the substantive part of the day with a philosophical overview of Ethics which included, amongst other things, Plato’s Theory of Forms which took me right back to my undergraduate days at the LSE in the early 1980’s.  He was followed by Tim Turner who very “bluntly” proposed that ethics cannot be separated from the law (the GDPR in this case) and, not only that, it was downright dangerous to do so.  To prove his point, he challenged the large and very well-informed audience to come up with any activity they could think of that was lawful in data protection terms but clearly unethical.  It was a challenge that remained unanswered all day.  Dr Inga Kroener maintained the quality standard of the speakers with a talk framed by a Foucault quote – I told you it was high-brow – and which included a very interesting section about eating on tube trains, of which I will say no more.  A very accomplished session.

Sad to report then that the closing panel discussion, where O’Brien, Turner, and Kroener were joined by the excellent Phil Booth, very quickly degenerated into just about the most potty-mouthed public discussion I have had to pleasure to witness recently.  Fortunately, this did not detract at all from the content but meant there was much to chuckle at as well as to learn from and to ponder.  Look out for the videos of the day’s sessions coming to the IRMS site soon courtesy of Jackie Stockwell at Leadership through Data although these may be delayed if they decide to delete all of the expletives!

So, all in all a great day and one with which Oyster IMS was glad to be associated.  A big thank you to Emily Overton for getting us  involved and also for arranging and hosting this excellent day along with Bilal Ghafoor.   If days like this are the direction in which the IRMS is moving then the society has a very bright future indeed.

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