Big data and the policies we need for Data Markets
Over the past period we have seen an increase in the possibilities to gather, analyse, trade and use data. Examples are data about people, services, objects and processes. Data is gathered via search engines, social networks, smart phones, sensors, cameras and other means. Additionally, many big data analysis tools are available that e.g. can filter and visualize the data. In short: the economic and social impact of big data is already huge and will only become more important.
Data is like crude oil and can be shared for free (not so likely with oil..) or traded. Unlike crude oil, we need policies how to deal with all this data. There are several trends in data markets that must lead to a number of policy implications (related to competition, innovation, privacy, etc.). A topic we must deal with is the diversity and the multi-sided nature of data markets. Access to data is about knowing where specific data is available and possibilities to restrict access to data. What is open data and what is closed data? What data is for free and what should be paid for? How to share, exchange and access the data?
A difference can be made between service platforms and data intermediaries. Service platforms consider data gathering and processing as a strategic activity that supports the sales or provision of goods and services, whereas the core business of data intermediaries is data processing, information and intelligence services. A small number of actors can be positioned at the intersection. Service platforms may share their data with (business) partners; data intermediaries may provide an (online) platform that allows for cross-selling or sharing of several information services to clients in a range of domains. This can be done both in a commercial not for profit model.
From a (public) policy perspective, the dynamics of data markets are highly relevant for competition, innovation, the competitiveness of sectors and regions, IPR, privacy and the policy process itself.
The impact of data markets on innovation will be via several mechanisms. Increased access to data will accelerate innovation by service platforms and data intermediaries. Innovation in data-related services and the increased importance of service platforms and data intermediaries is relevant for the policy process itself.
The effectiveness of existing policies should be discussed at the Assembly. Three of the many complexities are the speed of innovation, the definition of services and service platforms and the internationalisation of markets .