The economic value of data: discussion paper

HM Treasury (UK): “Technological change has radically increased both the volume of data in the economy, and our ability to process it. This change presents an opportunity to transform our economy and society for the better.

Data-driven innovation holds the keys to addressing some of the most significant challenges confronting modern Britain, whether that is tackling congestion and improving air quality in our cities, developing ground-breaking diagnosis systems to support our NHS, or making our businesses more productive.

The UK’s strengths in cutting-edge research and the intangible economy make it well-placed to be a world leader, and estimates suggest that data-driven technologies will contribute over £60 billion per year to the UK economy by 2020.1 Recent events have raised public questions and concerns about the way that data, and particularly personal data, can be collected, processed, and shared with third party organisations.

These are concerns that this government takes seriously. The Data Protection Act 2018 updates the UK’s world-leading data protection framework to make it fit for the future, giving individuals strong new rights over how their data is used. Alongside maintaining a secure, trusted data environment, the government has an important role to play in laying the foundations for a flourishing data-driven economy.

This means pursuing policies that improve the flow of data through our economy, and ensure that those companies who want to innovate have appropriate access to high-quality and well-maintained data.

This discussion paper describes the economic opportunity presented by data-driven innovation, and highlights some of the key challenges that government will need to address, such as: providing clarity around ownership and control of data; maintaining a strong, trusted data protection framework; making effective use of public sector data; driving interoperability and standards; and enabling safe, legal and appropriate data sharing.

Over the last few years, the government has taken significant steps to strengthen the UK’s position as a world leader in data-driven innovation, including by agreeing the Artificial Intelligence Sector Deal, establishing the Geospatial Commission, and making substantial investments in digital skills. The government will build on those strong foundations over the coming months, including by commissioning an Expert Panel on Competition in Digital Markets. This Expert Panel will support the government’s wider review of competition law by considering how competition policy can better enable innovation and support consumers in the digital economy.

There are still big questions to be answered. This document marks the beginning of a wider set of conversations that government will be holding over the coming year, as we develop a new National Data Strategy….(More)”.