Report: Unlocking the Value of Personal Data: From Collection to Usage, February 2013
Unlocking the Value of Personal Data: From Collection to Usage, prepared in collaboration with the Boston Consulting Group, examines the need for new approaches in the policies which enable the managing of personal data in ways that are flexible, adaptive and contextually driven. The report highlights outcomes from a nine month, multistakeholder, global dialogue on how the principles for using personal data may need to be refreshed to ensure they protect the rights of individuals, unlock socio-economic value and are fit for the complexities of a hyperconnected world.
A key insight from the report notes that the age of Big Data creates both new opportunities and risks, particularly as they relate to the privacy of individuals. The report highlights the need to shift to policy frameworks focused on the usage of data (rather than pre-emptively governing the data itself), the importance of context, and the need to find new ways to engage the individual. As it relates to engaging the individual, moving beyond current notice and consent practices is identified as one of the key priorities for global leaders to focus upon.
The report calls for the importance of establishing an updated set of principles and the means to uphold them in a hyperconnected world. In this light, there is a need to raise awareness on how technology can play a role in upholding principles by allowing permissions to flow with the data. Lastly, the report calls for greater evidence and “learning labs” for understanding the impact of when policies are implemented in the real-world.
In creating this report, the World Economic Forum convened a global dialogue through a series of workshops across Asia, Europe and the US on the principles to unlock the value of personal data.
A general consensus emerged from this dialogue that the rules governing personal data need to be flexible enough to enable new business models, accommodate technology evolution, enable user trust and meet the requirements for user transparency. Shared principles have been a core part of the governance of personal data for many decades. Principles can serve as the anchor points for global governance and strengthen accountability, predictability and trust.
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Report: Rethinking Personal Data: Strengthening Trust, May 2012
Rethinking Personal Data: Strengthening Trust examines how the appropriate use of personal data can create enormous value for governments, organizations and individuals. Produced in collaboration with The Boston Consulting Group, the report provides a multistakeholder perspective on how the potential value of personal data can be unlocked to achieve new efficiencies in business, tailor and personalize new products, help respond to global challenges and empower individuals to engage in social, commercial and political activities more effectively.
The report is structured to foster dialogue around some of the following questions:
- Who owns personal data?
- How do we protect individual privacy?
- How should rules for usage be formed and what is the role of context in establishing permissions?
- How should organizations that use personal data be held accountable, both for securing data and for adhering to the agreed-upon rules?
- What is the role of regulators given the global flow of personal data?
The report highlights that a declining sense of trust throughout the personal data ecosystem is jeopardizing the long-term potential to deliver socioeconomic value. High-profile data security breaches, rampant identity theft, a general lack of transparency in how personal data is monetized, and an absence of globally harmonized policies for privacy and the use of data all compound to create an unstable ecosystem. Companies are unclear about what they can and cannot do with personal data and are either standing on the sidelines or forging ahead with an unclear understanding of liabilities and the potential for negative impact on their reputations and brands. Governments are proposing various laws and regulations to protect privacy while also aiming to encourage innovation and growth.
The Rethinking Personal Data initiative is a multi-year initiative focused on increasing the trust, transparency and control individuals have over the personal data made by and about themselves. Launched in 2010, its intent is to bring together private companies, public sector representatives, end-user privacy and rights groups, academics and topic experts to deepen the collective understanding of how a principled, collaborative and balanced personal-data ecosystem can evolve.
Since the launch of the Rethinking Personal Data: Strengthening Trust report, the World Economic Forum has convened a global dialogue through a series of workshops across Asia, Europe and the US on the principles to unlock the value of personal data. For more information, please find the summaries of recent events held at the Annual Meeting of the New Champions and at a Brussels workshop.
A general consensus is emerging from this dialogue – there is a need to ensure that rules governing personal data flow are flexible enough to enable new business models, accommodate technology evolution, enable user trust and meet the requirements for user transparency. Shared principles have been a core part of the governance of personal data for many decades. Principles can serve as the anchor points for global governance and strengthen accountability, predictability and trust.
The values underpinning data protection principles are still applicable in many ways, but do not work effectively in today’s world. In particular, notice and consent is an area not offering real effective choice to individuals to ensure a permissioned, trusted flow of data. A recalibration of existing principles to reflect the current and future environment is needed given the significant shifts in technology and the way data is collected and used; it has been decades since the original Fair Information Practice Principles (FIPPs) were written.
The dialogue is structured around the three key areas highlighted in the report: protection and security, rights and responsibilities for using data, and strengthening accountability and enforcement. Within this, stakeholders have focused on two groups of principles as being most important to revisit: openness and individual participation, and collection limitation, purpose specification and use limitation.