Data Sharing: We Need Trust and Soft Infrastructure

Mäkinen, Jussi

Data Sharing: We Need Trust and Soft Infrastructure

Mon, 01/27/2020 - 09:00 |
Jussi Mäkinen, Head of Digital Regulation

Data is at the heart of Europe’s ability to answer to big challenges and opportunities of this new decade. Industry has been the stronghold of Europe but now we need to transform it to digital age. In practice, this means deeper involvement of data into processes. At first stage, data is naturally used to improve existing processes and customer experience. At second stage, data acts as a major element in value-driven networks that will be based on data sharing. These networks facilitate new business models and new revenue streams.  

Data also plays a key role as a converging medium between industrial and green policies. True circular economy needs up-to-date data of good quality. Efficiency of logistics can be significantly enhanced by help of real-time digital data and new business models like servitization of industrial products can be based on data sharing between suppliers and their clients. 

The Commission is drafting its data strategy where it is trying to find solutions to put data on the move and use. To put it shortly, our challenge is to have right data at the right place, at the right time.  

Our challenge is to have right data at the right place, at the right time. 

There have been some surveys done on this topic during 2019 in Finland. Results are promising: depending on the source, roughly half of Finnish companies are already sharing data with each other. However, legal models were completely a miss. Surveys and discussions with companies showed that trust is the major prerequisite for any data sharing. There is also lots to be done in field of data mapping; companies need to develop their insight on their data assets and generate better understanding on what types of data can be shared with whom and under which conditions. 

Technical solutions for APIs are in place, business needs are on the rise. Sound and clear legal models are lacking. Or actually were. Technology Industries of Finland published its Model Terms for Data Sharing in September. The terms are intended to be the easy first step on the path to data economy. The introduction contains some elementary guidelines for data mapping and the actual terms provide very wide usage rights for accrued data. We decided to concentrate on clarifying usage rights and not to dwell on ownership of data. These terms are to be used for industrial data, as a part of [existing] bilateral co-operation agreement. Model terms are available here

Finnish parliamentary think-tank SITRA published the Rulebook for Data Networks. Rulebook contains a functional part that helps users in mapping their data and its dimensions. Legal part of the rulebook has legal templates for setting up the actual network and agreeing over data usage. The usage rights of the rulebook have been lineated to form a logical growth-path from bilateral agreements based on our association’s Model Terms to multi-party data clubs. 

The rulebook is general in its approach and content, so it forms a feasible basis for various domains of data sharing – naturally with necessary sector-specific additions and tweaks.  

Together these initiatives form the necessary soft infrastructure needed to transform European industries to data sharing phase. Next step is to gather experience and see how different European data sharing initiatives, International Data Spaces, iSHARE and SITRA Rulebook can be put work together.  

I will be presenting these ideas in greater detail at Data Sharing Days in the Hague 28 January. Hope to catch you there!