Data Ethics

Duration1 semester
State of the moduleElective module
Hours of compulsory in credit hours4
Learning outcome/ competencies

We all know that we can do impressive things with data. But how is it we hear so often about yet another scandal in fintech, medical tech, social media? People are discriminated against by credit check tools, manipulated by recommender systems, and driven into depression by social media retention algorithms. But the time of the digital Wild West is slowly over, with tech giants fined billions for privacy violations, customer outrage driving massive losses, and companies being more vocal than ever about their commitment to ethics.

But what is ethics? And what can you do to ensure that your own work doesn’t harm others, and maybe even helps to make the world a bit better?

This module will train you in identifying moral issues arising throughout the data lifecycle, help you develop the vocabulary needed to address them, and give you the practical tools to resolve them. While in other classes you learn what you can do with data, here we will ask: what should or shouldn’t you do? You will learn about current movements and techniques such as Responsible Research and Innovation, Value Sensitive Design, or Explainable AI, and find ways to incorporate them in a business setting. As we will review multiple real-life cases and some past student work, you will gain a large set of examples to draw on in the future.

Necessary requirementsNone
Recommended requirements


Method of examination
(applicable are §§ 9-14 RStPO)   
  •  Report (60%) – you will work in teams to develop a detailed ethics report on a new
    data-driven product.
  •  Presentation (30%) – you will present your analysis of an existing product, identifying ethical issues and recommending improvements.
  •  Course participation (10%)