Stefaan Verhulst on Data Governance Technologies

August 2, 2021

Although data sharing creates a counterbalancing democratizing force, it must be approached cautiously, CMDS Advisory Board member Stefaan Verhulst and his co-authors write in an article for the journal Data & Policy.

The article explains that private companies are now a major source of public interest data that could be used to promote community well-being. Data sharing efforts may allow underserved groups and organizations to overcome the concentration of power in the data landscape.

The article looks at one type of data sharing, data trusts, to see what difficult barriers related to technological complexity and legal risk such as compiling with the EU’s GDPR or California’s Consumer Privacy Act these groups and organizations must navigate.

The article finds that data governance technologies have a large role to play in democratizing data trusts safely and in a trustworthy manner. Yet technology is far from a silver bullet; it is dangerous to rely upon it. But technology that is no-code, flexible, and secure can help data trusts operate more responsibly. This type of technology helps innovators put relationships at the center of their efforts.

Ultimately, data governance technologies have an important opportunity to improve community well-being. Social problems such as housing or economic vitality require cross-sectoral solutions. Data sharing across sectors, especially the private and public, can inform better policies, the article argues.