Creating a shared understanding of rights over data

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We are exploring what citizens think of data ownership and rights with Luminate and the Royal Society for Arts so we can explain it better

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Stronger rights over the data about us are needed to build an open and trustworthy data ecosystem, which can help make data work for everyone. But sometimes finding ways to explain that in accessible language can be difficult.

In this project with Luminate and the Royal Society for Arts (RSA), we will test concepts and scenarios with citizens to understand how they respond and what they feel. We will then develop and test a narrative to improve how we express the concept of ‘data rights’.

Many people instinctively feel that they, and only they, ‘own’ personal data about them, that it is ‘their data’ and that only they should control it. We believe that rights over data are a better approach than data ownership.

We need to find a way to talk about the rights we should have – and the responsibilities that people have to protect them – over data about us. The way we talk about it needs to be clear both for citizens and the politicians that create legislation and policy frameworks. We need to translate data rights concepts into narratives that people with different levels of data literacy can understand.

Language, narratives and understandings of rights vary in different societies. This project will be deliberately focussed on the UK but when we publicise the findings we will do some engagement in other European countries, specifically France and Germany, to understand what would be required to make this narrative adapt and scale to be useful in more geographies.

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Are you interested in this project? Are you curious about how you could help or how you could use the outputs in your own work? Get in touch with our team.

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