Digital Ethics in Today’s Data-Driven World

To introduce its App Tracking Transparency feature on the latest iPhone, Apple has created an ad.

In it, a young woman is drawn to the doors of an auction of her data, and with the touch of a finger opts out of the app tracking software.

Though the commercial may be a bit tongue-in-cheek, the message is important. Because it's Apple's attempt at showing its commitment to transparency around tracking user data.

And Apple isn't the only organization prioritizing this. Many other organizations have started to publicly announce their commitment to ethics. In fact, more than 136  organizations across 22 countries in 45 industries are being honored for their commitment to integrity, in the 16th annual Ethisphere Awards.

Currently, in its 16th year, the Ethisphere Awards recognizes and rates companies on their commitment to ethics. They rate organizations across five categories: Governance, Leadership & Reputation, Culture of Ethics, Ethics & Compliance, and Environmental & Societal Impact, with Ethics and Compliance the most heavily weighted of the five categories.

But let’s back up a little. What is ethical user tracking and how can brands track with integrity?

Best Practices in Ethical User Tracking and Data Collection

The first and most crucial factor in ethically tracking user data is transparency. Be open and honest with your customer about what information you’re collecting and why. Make sure to highlight how gathering your customers' data allows you to help them have a better experience.

Here are some more best practices to follow, to help ensure you’re on the right track when it comes to ethics in digital marketing:

  • Keep your customer information secure. Be transparent about how data is shared.
  • Allow customers access to their records to review, delete, or correct their information.
  • Be cautious of third-party tools and only collect data using programs that are proven to comply with industry standards.

Digital Ethics and Privacy in a World Always Online

Brands, marketers, and businesses know that to ‘know your customer’ through their Data is an asset. It helps them know who is most interested in what, why they might leave a cart, and what they want to see more or less of in advertising.

On the flip side, customers are savvier than ever before and concerned about privacy – they know their data is being tracked and that in some cases private data can be breached for nefarious purposes. It's about trust. Do you trust the company you’re giving your data to keep it private and confidential? That’s the goal for many and a wide variety of companies work hard to ensure the integrity of your data to build and maintain trust. There are ways to conduct ethical user tracking and its these practices many reputable companies stand by.

For example, we mentioned Apple above doing their part to be transparent in their user tracking. Other nominees in the Ethisphere’s World’s Most Ethical Companies’ annual listing for 2022 include but are not limited to:

  • Accenture
  • Dell Technologies
  • Honeywell
  • IBM
  • International Paper
  • Microsoft Corporation
  • LinkedIn
  • Owens Corning
  • Prudential
  • WM

These companies are the tip of the iceberg and while some have only just begun their wins others have been on the list since the award's inception. If you want to make your mark with a business that puts its integrity first, this list isn’t a bad place to start.

If you’re interested in AdTech, Big Data, Programmatic, Web Analytics, Business Intelligence (BI), or Data Science just to name a few, Harnham may have a role for you.

Check out our latest Digital Analytics jobs or contact one of our expert consultants to learn more.  

For our West Coast Team, contact us at (415) 614 - 4999 or send an email to

For our Arizona Team, contact us at (602) 562 7011 or send an email to

For our Mid-West and East Coast teams contact us at (212) 796-6070 or send an email to

Posted in