The news this week has been filled with devastating images of fires, floods and the effects of unbearably hot temperatures. Amid the urgent actions needed to arrest climate change, we know for certain we need access to more and better data. One largely untapped source: companies that amass enormous amounts of data by tracking every second of our daily lives.
The European Commission (EC) is exploring an important step in this direction, namely whether to require private companies to share data with public agencies (read more about this on the Data Values Project blog here). The EC is seeking public feedback on its proposal for mandatory data sharing among private and public sectors.
It’s hard to argue against sharing data to protect the environment or respond to public health crises, but the proposal ultimately raises more questions than it answers: How would mandatory data sharing affect me? What are the potential downsides? How could this disadvantage some people more than others?
These are the types of questions we’re asking as part of the Data Values Project’s focus on data governance. We know there are no easy answers but believe it's more important than ever to address issues of inclusion and equity in data governance.
Many groups are already grappling with these issues. The Group on Earth Observations Indigenous Alliance lays out themes to protect indigenous people in a recent report. The Open Data Institute’s ongoing data institutions work unpacks approaches to stewarding data. (Thanks to them for sharing their article on How Data Institutions Emerge on the Data Values blog this week.) And GPSDD's policy officer Karen Bett has written practical ways to apply data values based on an online event with #RestoreDataRights.
I hope you’ll take a moment to reflect on these questions and share your thoughts. Email us any time at this address and join the conversation online using #DataValues.
Until next time,
Senior Director of Policy | Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data
Better data. Better decisions. Better lives.