IE University experts propose enhanced collaboration for fair, competitive, and safe data economy. The intricate challenges pervading the data economy need concerted efforts involving public and private entities, diverse sectors, and the public at large. This is one of the main conclusions of IE University’s Center for the Governance of Change report "The Future Data Economy", presented on April 24, 2024, at a public event with Joaquín Almunia, former Vice-President of the European Commission. The report, part of a multiannual research program on the “Digital Revolution and the New Social Contract”,  summarizes the ideas and recommendations of a year of research into the possibilities of creating a data economy that is fair, competitive and secure, carried out together with experts in the field such as Andrea Renda and Stefaan Verhulst.

According to the report, the data economy represents “a fundamental reconfiguration of how value is generated, exchanged, and understood in our world today” but it remains deeply misunderstood:

  • The authors argue that data's particular characteristics make it different from other commodities and therefore more difficult to regulate.
  • Optimizing data flows defies the sort of one-size-fits-all solutions that policymakers tend to search for in other domains, requiring instead a more nuanced, case-by-case approach. 
  • Policymakers need to strike a delicate balance between making data sufficiently accessible to foster innovation, competition, and economic growth, while regulating its access and use to protect privacy, security, and consumer rights.

The report identifies additional overarching principles that lay the groundwork for a more coherent regulatory framework and a more robust social contract in the future data economy:

  • A paradigm shift towards greater collaboration on all fronts to address the challenges and harness the opportunities of the data economy.
  • Greater data literacy at all levels of society to make better decisions, manage risks more effectively, and harness the potential of data responsibly.
  • Regaining social trust, not only a moral imperative but also a prerequisite for the long-term sustainability and viability of data governance models.

To realize this vision, the report advances 15 specific recommendations for policymakers, including:

  • Enshrining people's digital rights through robust regulatory measures that empower them with genuine control over their digital experiences.
  • Investing in data stewards to increase companies’ ability to recognize opportunities for collaboration and respond to external data requests. 
  • Designing liability frameworks to properly identify responsibility in cases of data misuse.

To download the report and read more about the subject, click here.