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Unlocking the Value of Personal Data from Collection to Usage - a World Economic Forum Report

personal data

Our world is changing. It is complex, hyperconnected, andincreasingly driven by insights derived from big data. And therate of change shows no sign of slowing. Nor does the volumeof data show any sign of shrinking. But, the economic and socialvalue of big data does not come just from its quantity. It alsocomes from its quality – the ways in which individual bits of datacan be interconnected to reveal new insights with the potentialto transform business and society. Fully tapping that potentialholds much promise, and much risk. By themselves, technologyand data are neutral. It is their use that can both generate greatvalue and create significant harm, sometimes simultaneously.

This requires a rethink of traditional approaches to datagovernance, particularly a shift from focusing away from tryingto control the data itself to focusing on the uses of data. It isup to the individuals and institutions of various societies to governand decide how to unlock the value – both economic andsocial – and ensure suitable protections.

As part of the multiyear initiative Rethinking Personal Data, theWorld Economic Forum hosted an ongoing multistakeholderdialogue on personal data throughout 2012 (See Figure 1 formore details). This dialogue invited perspectives from the US,Europe, Asia, and the Middle East and involved representativesof various social, commercial, governmental and technicalsectors, who shared their views on the changes occurring withinthe personal data ecosystem and how these changes affect thecollective ability to uphold core principles. The dialogue alsoaddressed key regional legislative and policy approaches,particularly the proposed European Commission Data ProtectionRegulation2 and the US Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights.3

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