Why data ethics is more important than ever

July 21, 2019 | Louise Basse

There's no doubt that data is a big part of our lives.

To understand how data - and financial data in particular - is affecting us, we’ve interviewed our very own data expert, Christian Panton. As this year’s winner of the Data Protection Award, Christian Panton believes data protection is more important than ever.


Why is data protection such a hot topic at the moment?

“When you talk about data protection, it’s essential to understand that data ethics is all about creating trust between users and businesses. Right now, we’re operating in an area in which we all depend on user trust — and that’s not an easy task. Trust is very vulnerable, and it can disappear extremely fast if you don’t handle it with care.

For an extended period of time, our society has overwritten people’s right to data protection. We’ve always been good at enjoying the benefits from being digitalized — but at the same time, we’ve forgotten to look at the consequences of being digitalized.

That’s why the regulations on the area have been incredibly lenient in the way that there hasn’t been any real consequences if you don’t comply with it. As a society, we’ve been too late to discover how important it is to handle these problems and that’s why data protection is significantly more important today than ever before.”


What is Nordic API Gateway doing to improve data protection?

“Put simply, everything we do at Nordic API Gateway evolves around security — and technical security in particular. We do privacy by design and privacy by default. In this way, we protect data on a technical level. We’re a stateless service which means we never store any data. That makes it very easy for our clients to trust us and innovate on top of the data that runs through our service.

The best way to avoid a data breach is by not having any data in your system. And since we started the company several years back, we’ve fought to empower our users with their right to protect their own data.”


Is it enough to follow regulations to ensure data protection?

“In theory, I think GDPR has solved a lot of things when it comes to data protection. But if you create a framework that can’t be applied completely in the ‘real world’, then it’s not enough for businesses to follow GDPR regulations only. Businesses need to embrace data protection by themselves.

And how do they do that?

Well, they need to consider what is in the best interest of the user. In theory, businesses could build lots of different services to increase revenue but if it’s not in the users’ best interest, then it becomes an ethical problem.

On an overall basis, however, I think GDPR has improved a lot of things when it comes to data protection. Of course, there are things that could have been added to GDPR, but our data protection rights are much better protected now than they were with the former legislation”