IGF 2019 WS #364 Data Governance: From principles to practice

Organizer 1: Elettra Ronchi, OECD
Organizer 2: Effy Vayena, ETH Zurich
Organizer 3: Christian REIMSBACH-KOUNATZE, OECD

Speaker 1: Malavika Jayaram, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 2: Effy Vayena, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 3: Kamel Ajji, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Policy Question(s): 

How can we protect individuals and their data but also think about collective rights and interests, and discuss any trade offs transparently, accountably and, most importantly, inclusively?
Can we achieve an internationally shared understanding and common view on the practices that we should seek to promote in facilitating access and re-use of data that can serve public interests?

How can we transform data ethics into practical solutions and turn the responsible use of data into a competitive advantage?

Relevance to Theme: With the growing importance of data for the digital transformation, access to and sharing of data has become almost a condition for competition, innovation and inclusiveness. Today, data access and sharing, for instance, are needed to enhance public service delivery and to identify emerging governmental and societal needs.
Policy initiatives to promote access to and sharing of data have been uneven across sectors and countries- if existing at all. Dialogue and shared understanding on key concepts such as accountability, transparency and ownership constitute an important contribution to helping countries shape the digital transformation for broader economic and social gains.
Recent OECD work aims to help countries by identifying best practices and delivering guidance for policy-making on the governance of data.

Relevance to Internet Governance: Critical to reaping the substantial economic benefits of data-driven innovation – as well as to realising the full social and cultural potential of that innovation – is the key element of trust and this requires whole-of-society engagement and multi-stakeholder dialogue. This in turn requires establishing processes where all major stakeholders, their roles and responsibilities can be identified, and their various interests be recognised and made transparent. Whole-of-society engagement and multi-stakeholder dialogue are also needed to assure that frameworks for data access and sharing are coherent across economic sectors and across society.


Debate - Classroom - 60 Min

Description: While data, and its flow across borders, helps fuel the digital transformation, it also gives rise to significant policy issues. In the context of the new and rapid technological changes, the main uncertainties today stem from the challenges they pose to fundamental values, such as accountability, agency, consent, privacy and ownership, which underpin current systems of data governance. Further uncertainty is caused by regulatory and legal regimes, which often lack the agility required in a rapidly changing digital environment.
Data collection, sharing and use can involve complex, and context-dependent dilemmas and trade-offs between competing values and interests.
A number of regional and international organisations are working on developing guidelines and principles for the responsible use of data and for access and sharing of data. Among these, the OECD has been actively supporting the international policy debate on how to maximise the benefits of data and their re-use, and mitigate the associated economic and societal risks.
The 1980 OECD Recommendation of the Council concerning Guidelines Governing the Protection of Privacy and Transborder Flows of Personal Data (OECD Privacy Guidelines), revised in 2013, has been playing an important role internationally in promoting respect for privacy as a fundamental value and a condition for the free flow of personal data across borders.
The 2008 OECD Recommendation on Enhanced Access and More Effective Use of Public Sector Information and the 2016 Council Recommendation on Health Data Governance are also important contributions to the policy debate. They seek to support the development of broader, more compatible frameworks for the development and implementation of national and regional approaches and guidelines to facilitate access and re-use of data that can serve public interests and bring significant benefits to individuals and society.
More recently, the OECD has initiated a concerted multidisciplinary effort to identify best practices in data governance providing examples of approaches to enhance access and sharing that can enable the free flow of data across nations, sectors, and organisations, and at the same time address the legitimate concerns of individuals and organisations (including governments), while assuring data-driven innovation, growth and well-being across societies.
This workshop would inform stakeholders about the work undertaken so far and seek feedback on how to move from principles to practice in going forward. In particular, we see the IGF as a unique forum to engage with developing countries in sharing views on challenges and barriers in implementing good data governance and data ethics in practice and what solutions are needed to ensure that the trust in the data economy stays strong.

Expected Outcomes: This workshop would inform stakeholders about the work undertaken so far and seek feedback on views on the good practices that we should seek to promote in facilitating access and re-use of data that can serve public interests. Principles should not be the stopping point but merely the foundation for developing practical solutions. The workshop will also help identify innovative country policy practices.

Onsite Moderator: 

Elettra Ronchi, Intergovernmental Organization, Intergovernmental Organization

Online Moderator: 

Christian REIMSBACH-KOUNATZE, Intergovernmental Organization, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)


Elettra Ronchi, Intergovernmental Organization, Intergovernmental Organization

Discussion Facilitation: 

In advance of the IGF, we would take steps to interact with the IGF community, including by promoting the OECD work on data governance via IGF related communications ahead of the Forum

Online Participation: 

Usage of IGF Tool


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