IGF 2019 WS #261 Equitable data governance that empowers the public

Organizer 1: Private Sector, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Organizer 2: Private Sector, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Organizer 3: Private Sector, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Speaker 1: Sean McDonald, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 2: Sylvie Delacroix, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 3: Marc-Etienne Ouimette, Private Sector, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 4: Nanjira Sambuli, Civil Society, African Group

Policy Question(s): 

What are/should be the rights and responsibilities for individuals in determining the use of their personal data?
What are the competitive, developmental, ethical, legal and technical issues raised by increasing concentration of data and how can we ensure equitable access to data?
What is the relationship between ethical considerations and legal and regulatory frameworks in data driven technologies?
What societal and economic benefits are enabled by the trustworthy use of data to develop new technologies? How should these benefits be weighed against the need to protect fundamental rights?

Relevance to Theme: Current models of data governance tend to concentrate access to data in the hands of a few large technology companies—excluding citizens from sharing in their value. Recent scandals have also illustrated the extent to which these data governance models make us vulnerable to attacks on our privacy rights, and other human rights abuses.

New approaches to data governance are necessary to ensure the development of human-centric data governance frameworks that promote digital inclusion and empower individuals to share in the benefits of data and artificial intelligence.

This workshop will explore the conditions under which new data governance tools, such as data trusts, can provide individuals with a greater measure of control over their personal data; create transparency regarding data transactions; increase access to data and foster innovation; address asymmetries of power that exist between corporations, the government and individuals; enhance the protection of individual privacy and other human rights; and, empower the public to use their data to contribute to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Relevance to Internet Governance: Data trusts have the potential to reinforce data governance by including a multiplicity of stakeholders in their governance structures, including government, the private sector and civil society organizations--particularly in the context of public sector projects (i.e. smart cities) where citizen participation is required. The workshop will explore the structures, norms, decision-making procedures necessary for data trusts to tackle power asymmetries, protect data subjects' rights and protect the public interest in data and artificial intelligence.


Panel - Auditorium - 90 Min

Description: Data trusts are flexible governance tools with the potential to tackle existing power asymmetries between “data controllers” and “data subjects”. Our workshop invites a broad stakeholder discussion on the potential and shortcomings of data trusts. In particular, the workshop will focus on the rights and responsibilities of users in determining the use of their personal data. Additional attention will be paid to the potential for data trusts to enhance the protection of individual privacy and other human rights and to empower the public to share in the value of data and artificial intelligence. Through a guided discussion and introduction of case studies, the moderator will tease out a potential model of data trusts in more detail: what works, when does it work and where does it work? The session will start with an introduction to data trusts, historic and regulatory precedents and outline initial models as to how a data trust could function in a number of salient areas, e.g. smart cities and online platforms, while exploring the role for national governments in launching these initiatives. The remainder will focus on an interactive discussion, honing in on the design, scope and obligations of potential data trusts. Particular attention could be given to questions such as: what are the benefits and shortcomings of a data trust mandated by the state versus one built from the bottom up? We are keen to give participants an opportunity to share their insights on the societal and economic effects of current models of data control as well as their thoughts on data trusts as a possible solution. We expect this workshop to build on our white paper, contribute to concrete proposals and generate opportunities for collaborations going forward.

Expected Outcomes: We expect two concrete outcomes: the opportunity to build on our ongoing work on data trusts (white paper attached) and to facilitate ongoing stakeholder discussions. In a conjunct effort with participants, we will narrow down on a possible set of recommendations on the design of data trusts, including the role of governments in regulating them, as well as suitable implementation methods. These will directly feed into our ongoing work and further contribute to a salient societal debate on the need for a rebalancing of economic power and the role that personal data control plays therein. Beyond that, our goal is to encourage an international dialogue as to the opportunities offered by data trusts, to be taken forward in collaboration with participants.

Discussion Facilitation: 

The session organizers will come prepared with a list of questions to ask participants, including regarding the benefits and shortcomings of a data trust mandated by the state versus one built from the bottom up; how data trusts could facilitate participation of a multiplicity of stakeholders in their governance structures; what are priority areas where data trusts could be piloted to advance sustainable development goals? The session organizers will also invite questions from the participants attending in person and online.

Online Participation: 

Participants will be able to request to take the floor to ask questions via the online participation tool. They may also submit them in writing to the online moderator.

Proposed Additional Tools: We will invite participants to submit feedback via the online participation tool or via a google doc in order to compile comments and suggestions we were unable to address during the workshop.


GOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth
GOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
GOAL 10: Reduced Inequalities
GOAL 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities
GOAL 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions