July 17, 2019

Data Trusts: A New Tool for Data Governance

Element AI and Nesta

New approaches to data governance to restore public trust.

While online platforms have facilitated many aspects of our lives, the models of data governance they employ 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. The erosion of public trust and confidence in data-collecting organizations and in the technologies that rely upon this data (including AI) has provoked a backlash that threatens society’s ability to access and use trusted data for the public good. There is a pressing need to explore new data governance models that give individuals a measure of control over their personal data, while industry and governments work to define, protect, and evolve concepts of digital rights.

The purpose of this white paper is to advance the public policy conversation on data trusts by capturing the discussions of international experts and summarizing findings in the form of conclusions and recommendations.

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