Still a long way to go

Nicolas Zahn • January 2022

Still A Long Way To Go

Various recent publications and surveys point to a growing interest from citizens and consumers about Digital Responsibility but so far there is only limited adoption and implementation of principles among companies.

The beginning of the year is always a good time to take stock of where one stands and look back on what has been achieved and what has changed. In the last weeks various publications and surveys have been published taking stock of how citizens and users feel about digital transformation and how organisations are coping with digital ethics & responsibility. We read those publications with great interest but conclude that awareness surrounding the importance of digital ethics and digital responsibility is still only emerging.

Uncertainty, lack of understanding and risks shaping perception

Two surveys focussing on the perception of digitalisation in the population show that work regarding digital literacy, skills and transparency is still needed.

The Digitalbarometer by Süddeutsche Zeitung and the Bavarian Research Institute for Digital Transformation (bidt) showed that people feel uneasy using digital services as they are critical of their skills and understanding. Also, a widening gap – the “digital divide” – between people using digital services and others not having access or feeling pressured was observed. These dynamics could limit the adoption of digital services and hence the potential benefits of technological progress.

A second publication, the Digitalbarometer 2022 bei Stiftung Risiko Dialog and Mobiliar looks at how people see digital transformation shape various aspects of life, from labour to politics.

Particularly when it comes to data, a significant scepticism towards data collection and digital analysis is apparent (see screenshot).


Organisations need to catch up with demand

Changing the perspective to organisations developing and using digital services, ethos has issued a report together with EthicsGrade looking at the implementation of corporate digital responsibility among Swiss companies.

Not only was it difficult to find companies agreeing or being able to share information regarding their commitments towards digital responsibility. Even the companies responding to the survey only achieved relatively low scores (see screenshot).


Working towards digital responsibility

The first steps have been taken, digital responsibility has a foot in the door. But further efforts are needed to raise awareness and support organisations in implementing relevant principles in their activities. The Swiss Digital Initiative is working on various ways to advance digital responsibility as outlined in our Digital Trust Whitepaper.

With the recent launch of our Digital Trust Label (see video below) we will also gather experience with our Development Partners.