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Neutral mediator and key role in data spaces

In an increasingly data-driven world, where data has become a valuable asset, the protection and secure management of data becomes an urgent necessity. In this context, the concept of data trustee is gaining importance. Data trustees are neutral intermediaries who, for example ensure data privacy, data security and the legitimate use of data. In this blog post, we will explain the need for data trustee in a data economy and look at two examples of how they can be implemented in the “Health” and “Automotive” industries.

Why is there a need for data trustees in data spaces?

  1. Data privacy and trust: Data trustees play a central role in ensuring data privacy. They ensure that personal data is processed and protected in accordance with applicable data protection laws and policies. Through their neutral position and expertise, they create trust among data owners and users.
  2. Lawful use of data: In a data economy where data is considered a valuable commodity, it is important to ensure that data is used lawfully. Data trustees monitor the use of data and ensure that it is used in accordance with agreed-upon terms and policies.

What are the responsibilities and role models for data trustees?

Digital Health

In the healthcare industry, protecting sensitive medical (patient) data is of paramount importance. A data trustee can act as an intermediary between patients, medical institutions and researchers. The trustee would obtain patients’ consent to use their medical data, anonymize the data, and ensure that it is used for research purposes while maintaining patient privacy.

Example: a data trustee in the healthcare industry could be a data aggregator that collects medical data from various hospitals and clinics, anonymizes the data, and then makes it available to researchers to gain new insights and drive the development of personalized medicine.

Automotive

In the automotive sector, connected vehicles and the collection of vehicle data are an important development. Here, a data trustee could act as an independent entity to ensure that vehicle data is kept confidential and is only used with the consent of the vehicle owners or operators. The data trustee could coordinate the flow of data between vehicles, automakers, and other service providers and ensure that driver/owner privacy and data sovereignty remain protected.

Example: an automotive data fiduciary could ensure that vehicle data is anonymized and aggregated to analyze traffic and mobility patterns. This information could then be used by cities and transportation planners to optimize traffic flow and develop sustainable mobility solutions.

Data trustee as the key link between data owner and data user

As is clear from the previous examples, data trustees are of great importance in an increasingly data-driven world to ensure data privacy, data security and the lawful use of data. By implementing data trusteeship in various industries such as healthcare and automotive, we can strike a balanced approach between the use of data and the protection of privacy and rights of data holders. It is important for governments, businesses, and society to work together to develop and establish clear standards and guidelines for data trusteeship to build and sustain people’s trust in the data economy.

More on this topic (in German only):

https://vdivde-it.de/de/publikation/datentreuhaenderschaft-status-quo-und-entwicklungsperspektiven

https://www.kas.de/documents/252038/16166715/Designing+Data+Trustees+-+A+Purpose-Based+Approach.pdf/ffadcb36-1377-4511-6e3c-0e32fc727a4d

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