Ethical Data Scenarios

Data stewardship is a marathon, not a sprint. It requires stamina, persistence, and a series of small but impactful wins that demonstrate the win-win relationship of business success and ethical data use. 

At the Ethical Tech Project, we've developed a way to help you identify opportunities and create these wins. Introducing our Ethical Data Scenarios.

Each scenario is designed to:

  • Present a real-world situation in Product, Marketing, or Engineering departments where ethical data use is crucial.
  • Offer a systematic, three-step progression for addressing these situations.
  • Highlight the opportunity for a "small win," linking business achievement and ethical data use.

These scenarios serve as your roadmap to visible victories that go beyond enhancing your Ethical Data Principles Scorecard. They help you create positive, concrete change within your team and your organization as a whole.

Ready to start creating wins? Let's get started!⬇

Ethical DATA Scenarios

Explore the following scenarios:


In your role as a product manager, you're handling vast amounts of user data for various stages of product development. You use this data for understanding user behavior, improving product features, and forecasting market trends. 

However, you have realized that your data collection and usage practices aren't clearly communicated to your users. This opaque practice can lead to confusion, suspicion, and potential loss of user trust, thereby eroding data dignity and potentially impacting user retention.

Mitigation Steps
- Set Precise Data Policies: Start by defining clear data collection and usage policies. Make sure users understand what data you collect, why you collect it, and how long you store it.

-Communicate Clearly: Implement a straightforward, accessible system to communicate these policies to your users. The goal is to eliminate any ambiguity in user understanding of data practices.

- Regular Review: Establish a routine for reassessing your data practices. Ensure they are up-to-date and continuously align with ethical data principles.

Create the Win
- Implement a privacy-by-design solution that withstands changing regulations.
- Provide users with a high degree of control over their data.
- Leverage a solution like the Privacy Stack for easy orchestration.

This enhances user trust and carves out a unique selling proposition for your product - data dignity. 

Need help creating the win? Look no further than the Ethical Tech Partner Program.


As an engineering manager, the fast-paced environment of feature development has sometimes led to lapses in privacy controls. While the focus is often on product functionality and user experience, neglecting privacy measures can have serious repercussions. It can lead to data breaches, regulatory fines, and a tarnished brand reputation. Such negligence directly conflicts with the principles of user data security and privacy, thus hindering the creation of an ethical data ecosystem.

Mitigation Steps
- Privacy-by-Design: Ensure privacy measures are integral to the design and development stage of all features. Privacy should not be an afterthought.

- Continuous Training: Provide your team with regular training updates to keep them informed about best practices for ethical data use. This will keep them vigilant and proactive.

- Regular Checks: Implement regular checks to ensure your privacy controls are working as intended and comply with current regulations.

Create the Win
- Implement the Privacy Stack, a reference architecture for introducing privacy-by-design controls.
- Emphasize the comprehensive nature of this framework, covering data purpose, control, and rectification.
- Highlight your adherence to this framework, which promotes accountability and builds user trust.

Need help creating the win? Look no further than the Ethical Tech Partner Program.


In your marketing role, you've been relying heavily on customer data to craft personalized ad campaigns. By using these data insights, you've been able to achieve high click-through and conversion rates.

However, users aren't given an explicit choice to opt-in or opt-out of data collection for these campaigns. This lack of agency over their own data not only violates data dignity principles but can also lead to customer churn, thereby impacting long-term marketing success.

Mitigation Steps
- Explicit Consent: Users should always have a clear choice about participating in data-driven marketing activities. Start by implementing an opt-in system.

- Communication: Once users make a choice, confirm it to them and explain what it means. Clarity will help reduce misunderstandings and mistrust.

- Regular Audits: Establish a regular audit system to ensure that your marketing practices adhere to data dignity and stewardship principles over time.

Create the Win
- Introduce a clear 'opt-out' option for personalized ads.
- This option should be consistent across all marketing platforms.
- Show respect for user agency as a stepping stone towards building an ethical data ecosystem.

Need help creating the win? Look no further than the Ethical Tech Partner Program.