The moral limits of the market: the case of consumer scoring data

Ethics and Information Technology 21 (2):117-126 (2019)

Authors
Clinton Castro
Florida International University
Abstract
We offer an ethical assessment of the market for data used to generate what are sometimes called “consumer scores” (i.e., numerical expressions that are used to describe or predict people’s dispositions and behavior), and we argue that the assessment has ethical implications on how the market for consumer scoring data should be regulated. To conduct the assessment, we employ two heuristics for evaluating markets. One is the “harm” criterion, which relates to whether the market produces serious harms, either for participants in the market, for third parties, or for society as a whole. The other is the “agency” criterion, which relates to whether participants understand the nature and significance of the exchanges they are making, if they can be guaranteed fair representation, or if there is differential need for the market’s good. We argue that consumer scoring data should be subject to the same sort of regulation as the older FICO credit scores. Although the movement in the 1990s that was aimed at regulating the FICO scores was not aimed at restraining a market per se, we argue that the reforms were underwritten by concerns about the same sorts of problems as those outlined by our heuristics. Therefore, consumer data should be subject to the same sort of regulation.
Keywords Data ethics  Philosophy of economics  Moral limits of markets  Business ethics
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DOI 10.1007/s10676-019-09500-7
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References found in this work BETA

The Ethical Limitations of the Market.Elizabeth Anderson - 1990 - Economics and Philosophy 6 (2):179.
The Moral Limits of Markets: The Case of Human Kidneys.Debra Satz - 2008 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 108 (1pt3):269-288.
Selling Health Data.Bonnie Kaplan - 2015 - Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 24 (3):256-271.

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