Duty of Care is fundamental. If you touch a person’s life, then you are in part responsible for what happens afterwards.

That applies to the “users” of intelligence product, as well as the practitioners.

Intelligence-gathering can hurt the innocent, especially when clandestine. People can be indirectly effected when it’s collected, the recommendations from analysts can have human side effects they did not warn about, the communications to customers may be open to misinterpretation, and the decisions that follow may be seriously flawed. The use of extreme levels of secrecy can also hurt people.

Laws give some protection but it’s insufficient. Intelligence workers need to practice a Duty of Care. This goes beyond protecting witnesses and respecting the public’s “right to privacy”.

Duty of Care applies to public and private sector. It’s for intelligence workers in the state, police, media and industry. And it’s for everyone from collection through to assessment and decision making.

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