Opening Up Private Data for Public Interest

Home » Data Driven Stories » Opening Up Private Data for Public Interest

"The coolest thing with your data will be done by someone else". This old motto remains valid today. The very nature of big data is that they can be reused for purposes different from the one for which they were originally gathered.

While traditionally the open data movement has focussed on how the private sector can create value from data held by government, the opposite case deserves also policy attention. Indeed, data held by the private sector can be used to address public issues.

The story entitled “Opening Up Private Data for Public Interest” provides a comprehensive picture of benefits and challenges of corporate data sharing for public good. It explains why access to privately held data matters and it answers not trivial questions such as why companies do not share data with governments and how to design incentive to help companies to share data.

Moreover, the study explores in depth three examples of sharing private data for public interest highlighting mechanisms and lessons learnt:

1) Collaboration between the city of Copenhagen and Hitachi on City Data Exchange platform

2) Open data and beyond - Liander, Open data for energy conservation

3) Vodafone and Data Pop Alliance - data driven innovation and the great potential of mobile data

Finally, the study reveals that though privately held data offer great opportunities for addressing societal challenges, there is no generally preferred modality of data sharing. The best way of sharing data is case specific and governments can use different kinds of leverages to incentivize companies, depending on the type of data and sector. However, it is also clear that companies are reluctant to share their data because of different existing barriers that the study describes in details.

Do you want to learn more? Download our study.