Communications of the Association for Information Systems


The prevalence of data mining by businesses and government organizations raises concerns among many individuals about the privacy of their personal data. We address this issue by offering a different perspective that reconciles the conflicting desires of businesses and consumers. We describe privacy, data mining, and their interaction in the larger context, identify the costs and benefits of the uses of data mining, and discuss potential stakeholders found at the intersection of the two subjects. To help synthesize our proposed code of ethical conduct, we examine existing codes of conduct and how they relate to the issue of privacy in the context of data mining with people, processes, and technology. Showing that a uniform code of ethical conduct for online privacy is feasible from both a managerial and ethical perspective, we provide an initial philosophical and principle synthesis that businesses and organizations can tailor for their own specific customers and needs. The developed code of ethical conduct respects consumers’ desire for privacy while allowing businesses to use data mining techniques to elicit information that benefits both the business and the consumer.