Today’s digitally enabled economy is fueled by increasingly complex data transactions. The World Development Report 2021: Data for Better Lives explores the relationships between different types of data and data transactions used for development purposes and the legal enablers and safeguards that need to be put in place to engender trust. This trust environment is the core of the evolving social contract around data.
Creating a trust environment involves putting in place the policies, laws, regulations and technical standards to enable data to be effectively used, reused and shared, while safeguarding the data rights of parties that control the data to ensure they are not misused. The report takes a rights-based approach as the basis for safeguarding the fundamental rights of individuals in their personal data, while proposing a balance of interests to safeguard non-personal data, such as through the use of intellectual property rights.
The analysis is supported by the findings of a new Global Data Regulation Survey, which finds that elements of the enabling legal and regulatory frameworks for trusted data use remain unevenly developed across select country income groups. More progress has been made in areas of e-commerce legislation, access to public intent data, and the protection of personal data. However, regulations governing access to private intent data, cross-border data flows, and cybersecurity remain less developed, particularly in low- and middle- income countries.
Applying these emerging global best practices to a particular country requires developing sound, comprehensive frameworks that are adapted to and internally coherent with their policy orientation, data culture, and social contract on data. Building on this foundation, countries should then enact robust legislation informed by multi-stakeholder consultation, followed by clear time-bound implementation procedures to ensure accountability.
In the World Development Report 2021, data governance is broadly defined to include data infrastructure policy, the legal and regulatory framework for data, the related economic policy implications, and institutions. These diverse elements are effectively the building blocks of a social contract that seeks to deliver the potential value of data equitably while safeguarding against harmful outcomes. This seminar focusses on the competition policy aspects of the third pillar which is on related economic policies.