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SEB introduces data ethics policy

SEB introduces data ethics policy

Swedish bank SEB has adopted an ethics policy for handling customer data and the use of artifical intelligence.

The policy consists of eight principles for responsible business development of data-based technologies such as AI and machine learning, which are increasingly becoming core components in digital transformation projects.

The protocol aims to guide the bank in countering the ethical risks in data-driven innovation, such as a lack of transparency, incorrect assumptions, data quality, security and privacy.

SEB chief transformation officer Sara Öhrvall, says: “We need to develop ethical principles that are long term and go beyond regulatory compliance. These principles are there to safeguard human rights, protect customers and ensure that in the continuous development of our services and our offering we handle customer data in an ethical and responsible manner.”

The policy stipulates that the fundamental purpose of collecting and processing customer data must be to favour the stakeholders.

Other key principles revolve around transparency and explainability - an increasing focus of regulatory work on AI data models. Öhrvall states that SEB must strive to be able to report its use of data sources, models and AI as well as explaining how AI-based decisions are made.

The guidelines also stipulate that the bank works to counteract the conscious and unconscious prejudices that are often baked into AI-driven data gathering and reporting.

The protocol additionally sets rules on the sharing of customer data, outlawing the sale of transactional data for commercial purposes - "although the bank may continues to share data with a third party in order to develop services that create clear value for customers, when customers have requested this or when it is required by law".

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