IGF 2020 WS #226 Community Data and its Economic Implications

Thematic Track

Organizer 1: Norbert Bollow, Just Net Coalition, Digitale Gesellschaft Schweiz
Organizer 2: Sarah Ganter, Friedrich Ebert Stiftung
Organizer 3: Daniel Bertossa, Public Services International
Organizer 4: Anushka Mittal, Just Net Coalition

Speaker 1: Parminder Jeet Singh, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 2: Sarah Ganter, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 3: Daniel Bertossa, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Moderator

Anushka Mittal, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group

Online Moderator

Anushka Mittal, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group

Rapporteur

Norbert Bollow, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Format

Panel - Auditorium - 60 Min

Policy Question(s)

To whom do various economic rights related to data collected by various non-private sources in a society accrue – to data collectors or to data subjects, both individual and communities? If different data related economic rights and privileges accrue to all the above actors, what could the basis of appropriate application of such rights? Whether a community data framing can be useful to ensure rights to data subject individuals/ groups/ communities as well as the required data related economic privileges to data collectors and platforms?

The main challenge is the unsustainable economic power of digital platforms which is largely based on their appropriation of society’s data in absence of any economic laws and regulation around personal and non personal data. The issue here is whether such default appropriation by digital corporations of all or most of society’s data is fine, or economic rights to data should primarily belong to the subject individual and/or community, through a community data framework. This will enable an appropriate allocation of economic rights to various actors, including to the individual and community concerned, various actors in the digital economy and also certainty to small and larger digital businesses as the greatest opportunity to secure economic justice in data.

SDGs

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

Description:

Data is at the heart of a digital economy. Most attention till now has been paid to personal data, including in matters of data governance. In its initial phase, digital economy has largely been based on targeted advertisements which are centred on personal data. Now, it is shifting to involve the use and development of artificial intelligence (AI) which picks patterns from huge quantities of data to make intelligent predictions and decisions. This is done not just at the consumer end but across the value chains. However, AI depends mostly on non personal data. Since non personal data cannot be associated with individuals, there are no personal data protections or questions of ‘ownership’ of such data. Such a lawless state of non personal data means that, currently, whoever collects data – mostly a few global platform corporations – become the default owners of all such data. They are able to take up all the economic value of such data for themselves. Data is increasingly recognised as the most valuable resource in the digital economy. Such unilateral and complete appropriation of the value of society’s data by a few global digital corporations is behind their unsustainable and often monopolistic power in different sectors. This is causing many economic and social problems, and is the reason behind what is being called a ‘tech-lash’ against such corporations. But should all value of data go entirely to the data collecting corporation? Even if not identifiable individually, does not most non personal data belong to the specific communities or groups of people from where such data arises, and of which such communities or groups of people are the subject? Such data is being called as community data, and new frameworks of community ownership of data are emerging, including at the level of some national governments. The workshop will present the idea of community data, or community ownership of data. It will explore its economic implications; how diffusion of economic rights to non personal data among different digital economy actors will make the distribution of digital or economic power fairer among them. This might just be the key to resolve many economic, social and political ills of the immense global concentration of digital power currently in place. Methodology: The workshop will be in the form of a panel of four speakers and one moderator. One speaker will be from civil society, another from a government supported think-tank, a third from a labour union and fourth one from the private sector. The moderator will first present the issues and the civil society speaker will lay out the work being done by Just Net Coalition and at least one developing country on the concept of community data. Other initiatives will also be presented where the term may not be used explicitly but the idea is implicitly presented. Then the speaker from the German think tank will discuss how the German government has been discussing the need and basis of data sharing as a commons resource. The speaker from the labour union will discuss what data rights means for fair wage and work conditions for workers, and what kind of new ideas and practices are emerging in tis regard, and how this connects to collective or community ownership of data. The speaker from a national traders’ association will discuss how small traders who may be dependent on e-commerce platform look at data rights from an economic and collective perspective in a manner that can improve the balance of power between platforms and traders on platforms. The moderator will then take a round of questions. While responding to the questions, in a second round the speakers will try to pull together various contributions into a holistic community data framing, and the policy implications and real world impacts of such an approach .

Expected Outcomes

The outcome from the workshop will contribute to the urgently felt need, especially in developing countries, but also in the EU, to develop appropriate economic governance framing around data, including as the legal basis to enable society wide data sharing which is necessary for development of a robust domestic digital industry. This will include discussion on possible legislative frameworks, joint memoranda and publications to develop the ideas further, as nuanced by the Workshop held at IGF, 2020.

The workshop will be in the form of a panel of four speakers and one moderator. One speaker will be from civil society, another from a government supported think-tank, a third from a labour union and fourth one from the private sector. The moderator will first present the issues and the civil society speaker will lay out the work being done by Just Net Coalition and at least one developing country on the concept of community data. Other initiatives will also be presented where the term may not be used explicitly but the idea is implicitly presented. Then the speaker from the German think tank will discuss how the German government has been discussing the need and basis of data sharing as a commons resource. The speaker from the labour union will discuss what data rights means for fair wage and work conditions for workers, and what kind of new ideas and practices are emerging in tis regard, and how this connects to collective or community ownership of data. The speaker from a national traders’ association will discuss how small traders who may be dependent on e-commerce platform look at data rights from an economic and collective perspective in a manner that can improve the balance of power between platforms and traders on platforms. The moderator will then take a round of questions.

Relevance to Internet Governance: If the Internet provides the pipes for society’s social and economic interactions, data is the main flow in it. While early attention was most focussed on the technical architecture of inter-connections, today it is the substance of the flows, data, which is the attracting most attention in terms of governance. In fact, it is the pipes and the flows of social interactions that together comprise the Internet, and thus both are implicated in Internet governance.

Relevance to Theme: The thematic tract is data, and the workshop has a central focus on governance of data. Data’s governance has till now mostly been from a security and privacy protection point of view, and the workshop seeks to bring up the neglected but much needed economic side to data governance.

Online Participation

 

Usage of IGF Official Tool.