Voice of the Industry

Data Sharing Days 2020 – or how I learned that data is more than a four-letter word

Tuesday 4 February 2020 10:48 CET | Editor: Mirela Ciobanu | Voice of the industry

What is the connection between number 55, rock music, and Afsprakenstelsel? The Data Sharing Days Conference, held in rainy Hague.

Did you know that every minute we send 156 million emails globally, Google conducts over 3.5 million searches, and Amazon makes over USD 250,000 in sales? Furthermore, due to the growing online presence of consumers and businesses, plus the increasing number of connected devices (IoT), the exchange of data will continue to grow exponentially over the next few years, as stressed also by Everything Transactions book.

Therefore, there is a lot of potential behind these troves of data; still, transparency and security around gathering and analysing these data are crucial for data sharing initiatives’ success. Moreover, data sovereignty should be the central design principle of the data economy; an economy in which organisations and consumers alike will enjoy control over their data and thrive from all the benefits that sharing data entails.

This is a challenge which professionals in payment, logistics, technology, energy, and other industries together with policymakers and organisations succeeded in addressing during Data Sharing Days, an event that took place in the Hague, between 27 – 28 of January, 2020.

Let’s talk about data – more than a four-letter word

Data is a new type of value that offers organisations the opportunity to innovate products and services, and to unlock new digital business models. At the European Commission level, for the last five years there have been a lot of discussions about 5G, Artificial Intelligence, tourism, space, defence; however, one top priority for the authorities is DATA, since the foundation for these themes, their common denominator, which runs through their activities from end to end, is DATA.

Data of any form, nature (confidential/non-confidential, personal/non-personal), and structure, can be copied, uploaded, inserted in, collected or derived from/with cloud services/computing, etc. It can be static or dynamic, has attributes and can be based on knowledge.

The data lifecycle has seven phases: (1) obtaining and collecting it; (2) creating and deriving it; (3) accessing, controlling, and using it; (4) storing data; (5) sharing and disclosing info;  (6) retaining and archiving; and finally (7) destroying and deleting data.

While most data come out of phase 1 and 2, we should not forget that the way we access it, control it, and use it could generate additional layers of data.

Nevertheless, an asymmetry of data ownership is created as, ‘about 80% of all generated data in the world is in the hands of 4, 5, 6 international players. They have created a sort of monopoly based on their and our data’. As a result, the European Commissioner Thierry Breton considers that ‘these empires will not be able to stay as they are, because they capture too much value’. Furthermore, he proposes a New Digital Strategy that will enable organisations to share data securely. Given that vast amounts of data remain underutilised and isolated, developing a suitable strategy will allow the EU to capture the full benefits of data that will help its digital economy grow and become more productive.

The future of the internet

To unleash the true potential of data sharing and build an internet that everyone trusts, the relationship between people, apps, and data needs to be redefined. Moreover, Ruben Verborgh, professor of Semantic Web Technology at IDLab, Ghent University, considers that society nowadays doesn’t have a privacy problem, but one of innovation. However, ‘by taking control of our data flow, we take control of our choices. Privacy is nothing but a by-product of sustainable innovation’. One positive outcome of this philosophy is the creation of a decentralised Web, where people will be in control of where they store their data and who they share it with, independently of the apps they use.

At the moment, users are ‘forced’ to accept package deals they cannot customise, according to the professor. Facebook shows us their social feed featuring our friends, paid for by advertising; but only if we store our personal data on Facebook; we cannot migrate our data to Twitter for example.

But power can be reorganised via the decentralised Web. In this newly created environment, users will be in control of their own data and privacy. Then, by decoupling apps and data, new applications and data solutions can gain competitive power. And last, the expressive power of applications improves by depending on transferable queries instead of low-level interfaces.

Professor Verborgh also works on Solid, a new ecosystem started by Web Inventor Tim Berners-Lee. The Solid ecosystem enables people to pick the apps they need, while storing their data wherever they want.

How can organisations use data sovereignty to build trust?

Several times during the conference, INNOPAY's Data Sharing Lead, Mariane ter Veen stressed the need for organisations to create ‘soft infrastructures’ to share data, with data sovereignty used as design principle, to give organisations and individuals the necessary ways to control their own data.

INNOPAY sees the development of soft infrastructures as a multi-layered challenge, where components must work together to achieve an effective flow of data. To achieve this interoperability, the consultancy firm proposes a Triple A Model, with 3 layers such as: the Availability layer, which governs how and where the data is organised; the Applicability layer, which addresses how users interact with the data; and the Accessibility layer in the middle, which is strongly linked to platforms and accessing available data.

Usually these accessibility layers/ platforms don't support trust amongst partners and carry an increased risk of fragmentation as data becomes siloed. Nevertheless, organisations can use trust schemes (or Afsprakenstelsel in Dutch) to build collaborative soft infrastructures based on agreements between many partners. An example of such scheme is iSHARE, an international initiative by the Dutch government to increase competitiveness within the logistics sector. Via iSHARE, trucking companies can access up-to-date information on the arrival of maritime containers, which improves the efficiency of how goods can be transported between ports and customers.

But iSHARE is just a sample of the possibility to create an atmosphere of trust and collaboration. Similar projects like the International Data Spaces Association (IDSA - an international peer-to-peer network that aims to facilitate the worldwide exchange of data between data providers and data users in business ecosystems), Gaia-X (France and Germany’s project to launch a European Cloud Service), the Alliance for IoT Innovation (AIOTI -  initiated by the European Commission to strengthen the dialogue and interaction among Internet of Things (IoT) players in Europe), FIWARE Foundation, MedMij (a Dutch sharing data initiative in the health sector), and many others were listed during the event.

These revealed that if we really want to build a thriving data economy, people-centric and which allows organisations and users to manage their own data, then we need to collaborate to build these trust infrastructures. And to start looking for key partners, planning, and preparing these sharing data initiatives an important step it to learn about existing projects and to network with people that share similar interests, like the attendance of Data Sharing Days 2020.

We want to thank the INNOPAY team for having us in the Hague and to congratulate them, together with Vereon, for moderating such an inspiring conference and creating a friendly atmosphere, where people felt safe to share data about them.

Oooh … 55 is the total number of children the audience had, and rock is one of the favourite types of music for people attending. 

What type of music do you like? See you next edition to let us know!

About Mirela Ciobanu

Mirela Ciobanu is a Senior Editor at The Paypers and has been actively involved in covering digital payments and related topics, especially in the cryptocurrency, online security and fraud prevention space. She is passionate about finding the latest news on data breaches, machine learning, digital identity, blockchain, and she is an active advocate of the need to keep our online data/presence protected. Mirela has a bachelor degree in English language and holds a Master’s degree in Marketing.


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Keywords: Afsprakenstelsel, payment, logistics, technology, energy, data sovereignty, data privacy, data, INNOPAY, Data Sharing, Mariane ter Veen, iShare
Categories: Banking & Fintech | Payments General
Countries: Netherlands
This article is part of category

Banking & Fintech