Algorithm Bias, ESG Data, Credit Scoring, Data Literacy, Database, and Data Protection & Interoperability

This week we begin with an article on the predictive policing in the United States, the access to historical and real-time crime data, and the vast opportunity for bias in such algorithm-based policing models. Next is a piece on the emergence of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) data in 2021, the barriers to creating better ESG data, and what we can do about it. Following this is an article on Equifax’s acquisition of open banking partner AccountScore to access customers’ alternative data and enhance its credit scoring model. Following this, we have an article on the importance of data literacy among employees of data-driven companies. Next, we have an assessment of predatory academic journals indexed on Scopus, and how it raises concern about the poor-quality scientific literature. To end, we have Electronic Frontier Foundation’s whitepaper on data protection and interoperability. In this paper, the authors discuss the surveillance-based business models of tech giants, their anti-competition practices, and propose competitive compatibility and platform-sanctioned interoperability to promote technological innovation.

The black box of justice: How secret algorithms have changed policing

The story of predictive policing begins in the 1990s with a process developed by the New York Police Department. Today New York is one of the safest big cities in America. In 2018, 289 people were murdered in the five boroughs. The city’s murder rate—3.31 per 100,000 people—was the lowest measured in 50 years. In 1990, it was a different city: 2,245 people were murdered, a rate of around 31 per 100,000 (the city’s population increased markedly in the intervening 28 years).

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The Top 6 Barriers to Better ESG Data (and What To Do About Them)

It’s becoming an all too familiar refrain: Investors need better data on companies’ environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance. And that refrain is typically followed by the litany of problems that exist with the current sources of ESG data.  A recent Wall Street Journal article  — “Providing Timely ESG Information Is Becoming More Crucial for CFOs” — makes the case for “frequent data updates from companies to inform real-time investment decisions.” While this is an absolute necessity, “good” ESG data is nonexistent in the market.

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Equifax buys open banking partner as UK credit bureaus incorporate more financial data into credit scoring

Global credit reference agency Equifax has acquired data analytics provider AccountScore, which provides lenders with access to customer bank data via open banking, per Finextra. The two firms have been collaborating on open banking products in the UK for the last two years. The purchase enables Equifax to bring its partner’s tech in-house and have more control over open banking deployment strategies going forward.

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How to build data literacy in your company

Data literacy — the ability of a company’s employees to understand and work with data to the appropriate degree — can be a stepping stone or a stumbling block when it comes to building a data-driven company. A recent Gartner survey of chief data officers found that poor data literacy is one of the top three barriers in building strong data and analytics teams, while a data literacy survey by Accenture of more than 9,000 employees in a variety of roles found that only 21% were confident in their data literacy skills.

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Hundreds of ‘predatory’ journals indexed on leading scholarly database

The widely used academic database Scopus hosts papers from more than 300 potentially ‘predatory’ journals that have questionable publishing practices, an analysis has found. Together, these titles contributed more than 160,000 articles over three years — almost 3% of the studies indexed on Scopus during the period. Their presence on Scopus and other popular research databases raises concerns that poor-quality studies could mislead scientists and pollute the scientific literature.

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Privacy Without Monopoly: Data Protection and Interoperability

The problems of corporate concentration and privacy on the Internet are inextricably linked. A new regime of interoperability can revitalize competition in the space, encourage innovation, and give users more agency over their data; it may also create new risks to user privacy and data security. This paper considers those risks and argues that they are outweighed by the benefits. New interoperability, done correctly, will not just foster competition, it can be a net benefit for user privacy rights.

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