Data Ownership


Data Ownership within the digital world has a high degree of Complexity

Data Ownership is not just about the data but also about how data is used.

The seemingly simple question "If Alice takes a photograph of Bob, who owns the Photograph?"
Suddenly becomes complex.

Data Ownership is often used within the context of Personal data

The Data Origin may need to share Data Ownership with the distribution chain of the data.

The first step toward open information markets is to give people Data Ownership. The simplest approach to defining what it means to "own your own data" is to go back to Old English Common Law for the three basic tenets of ownership, which are the rights of:

  • possession: You have a right to possess your data. Companies should adopt the role of a Swiss bank account for your data. You open an account (anonymously, if possible), and you can remove your data whenever you’d like.
  • use: You, the data owner, must have full control over the use of your data. If you’re not happy with the way a company uses your data, you can remove it. All of it. Everything must be opt-in, and not only clearly explained in plain language, but with regular reminders that you have the option to opt out.
  • disposal: You have a right to dispose or distribute your data. If you want to destroy it or remove it and redeploy it elsewhere, it is your call.

Data Ownership refers to both the possession of and responsibility for information.

Data Ownership is different#

When you sell an "Real" property, like a car, it is no longer yours. The new buyer can do anything they want with it and it will not affect you. Personal data is always going to be about you and the way your Personal data used will always matter to you.

This means normal property rights, or ownership, is generally no a useful way of thinking about the relationship between you and your Personal data about you. You need to always have rights about what is done with your Personal data.

Data Ownership is also different as it only has Data Valuation when it is being used. Once a user leaves a site, or is deceased, then the Data Valuation is reduced.

Data Ownership Is Still New [1]#

There's just one little niggle with this ownership contract of ours: it was never designed to account for data. Historically speaking, the idea of even owning data is relatively new. The earliest copyright laws—which granted the Data Origin of a work exclusive rights to duplication and distribution of said work—first appeared in the early 18th century. It would still be hundreds of years, however, before the concept of "data" as we understand it even began to develop.

Ownership implies power as well as control. The control of information includes not just the ability to access, create, update, package, derive benefit from, sell or delete data, but also the right to delegate these privileges to others (Loshin, 2002).

Implicit in having control over access to data is the ability to delegate data with colleagues that promote advancement in a field of investigation (the notable exception to the unqualified sharing of data would be research involving human subjects). Scofield (1998) suggest replacing the term 'ownership' with 'stewardship', "because it implies a broader responsibility where the user must consider the consequences of making changes over 'his' data".

According to Garner (1999), individuals having Intellectual Property have Intellectual Property Rights to control intangible objects that are products of human intellect. The range of these products encompasses the fields of art, industry, and science. Research data is recognized as a form of Intellectual Property and subject to protection by U.S. law.

Paradigm of Ownership [2] #

David Loshin, in his book Enterprise knowledge management: The data quality approach . Morgan Kaufmann, 2001, described what he called the Paradigm of Ownership not with the intent of establishing who the legitimate Data Ownership should be, but to accent the complexity of ownership issues and to identify the list of parties laying a potential claim to data: These parties are generally considered the Data Provenance All of these Entities are at least Stakeholders in the data. In the copyright law of the United States, a work made for hire (law of agency) is a work subject to copyright that is created by an employee as part of their job, or some limited types of works for which all parties agree in writing to the Work For Hire designation. If a work is covered by law of agency, Legal Person serving as an employer not the employee is considered the legal Data Origin.

Redefining Data Ownership[3]#

Data is undeniably one of the world’s most valuable asset, and yet there lacks a clear definition of Data Ownership and an even less of a clear framework for claiming and protecting rights of ownership over this asset. Some define Data Ownership as having the right to control data and claim the profits generated from the data. The challenge is that since data can be easily copied by anyone, they could hold the same control over the data as the original owner. It is extremely difficult to clearly assert ownership and defend your rights as the legitimate owner of the data. Current solutions in the market for “secure” data exchange between two parties often rely on a trusted Third-party, such as a data Centralized Exchange. However, these “trusted” Third-party are profit-maximizing organizations with their own agendas, and are storing data in the absence of authorization, neglecting data privacy, and even engaging in data fraud.

An Example for Data Ownership#

You own a Mobile Device that track your steps. Sure, the steps are yours, but the:
  • technology used to calculate your steps was developed or Licensed to the Entity that made the watch.
  • The app that displays the trends for your steps may be put in a DataStore by an Application owned by yet another entity
You use the phone and the Application without paying for the Technology for calculating steps nor do you pay for the other Application for the DataStore costs. So currently, you are exchanging your Step Data for the free use of the technology and DataStore.

Would you be willing to pay to store the Step data?

Everything is Amazing, But Nothing is Ours#

We love services. Services free us to be pure consumers, seeking exactly what we want for as little friction and overhead as possible. So long as everything works, trading ownership for access is an attractive deal: everything under the hood just gets magic-ed away, and provided for us as a service. No files, no updates, no maintenance; just access.

More Information#

There might be more information for this subject on one of the following: