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Advancing digital agency: the power of data intermediaries

Data collection Data linkage Data mining Big data Information resources management

The power of the data ecosystem has never been greater but the system itself is becoming more difficult to navigate due to increasing complexity. We share and receive data every day to interact with the technologies that serve us, whether in a personal or commercial context. Data value chains then funnel, use and reuse that data, usually for commercial or public interest purposes. These value chains, often involving personal data, are at best complicated to follow; at worst they can lead to mistrust in data sharing and can potentially give cover to bad actors.

Contrasted with this complexity is our reliance on data sharing both as our way of life and as the backbone of the global data economy and the key to technological innovation.

If mistrust in the data ecosystem acts as a point of failure leading to suboptimal outcomes for us all, what can be done? What if there was a better way whereby data could be more easily traced, more easily permissioned, more easily controlled by data rights holders (including people) across the data ecosystem?

This report explores the opportunities and risks of data intermediaries and, specifically, third-party digital agents. From data trusts to trusted digital agency, the report paints a picture of a world that is more empathetic to people and to companies, providing greater certainty for data sharing as a foundation for innovation through the introduction of a trusted third party. Crucially, it suggests levers of action for both the public and private sector to ensure a future-proof digital policy environment that allows for the seamless and trusted movement of data between people and the technology that serves them.

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