Countries have stock exchanges, commodities markets and various types of bourse systems to enable the formalized trading, pricing and exchange of corporate stocks, securities, goods and services. Although traditional of these commodities markets are likely to exist for many years to come (trading everything from tea to tin as they do), we’re now at a point on the digital evolution curve when data itself has become a marketable product, a tradeable entity and a thing of value.
Surely we need some kind of exchange system for data then?
If not exactly a data stock exchange, the World Economic Forum’s Data that Flows Project attempts to provide a new level of formalization to some of the mechanisms behind the flow of data around the planet.
According to a June 2020 blog and whitepaper from the World Economic Forum (WEF) itself, “The Data Flows Project addresses issues related to regional data governance by aiming to support the development of cohesive policy frameworks and cross-border governance protocols, which can accelerate societal benefits and minimize adverse risks of data flows. This effort requires the establishment of trust between participating parties. Therefore, these frameworks incorporate trust mechanisms such as data privacy and security backstops.”
The rise of interoperable trustworthy data !!
What the WEF hopes to engender is a community-centric system that shares co-design practice ideas on building interoperable and trustworthy data policies. The organization recommends first piloting technologies before they are taken forward and scaled for size. It is also championing and advocating the responsible use of data.
Technology analysts which talk about the doubling of global data in the period between 2018 and 2022. There is further talk of a further doubling between 2022 and 2025. But despite the undeniable growth and the WEF pointing out that an unprecedented amount of ‘data flows’ are flowing across borders and devices, it warns that the regulatory environment for data localization remains fractured.
“The more than 120 data privacy laws currently in place globally have created more uncertainty than ever before. Much of the data needed to tackle the world’s most pressing challenges lies siloed in both public and private sources, with an array of regulatory, commercial and social risks preventing the sharing of data, even for social good,” wrote an official source, as part of the organization’s Shaping the Future of Technology Governance: Data Policy Platform initiative.