Published on April 25th, 2018 | by


EU Data Innovation Day 2018: Building a Social Contract for Data

In The Social Contract, Jean-Jacques Rousseau made the case for a balance of rights and responsibilities between free and empowered citizens and a constrained, legitimate state. With the rights of individuals at the forefront of today’s data protection debates in Europe, it is timely to ask what social responsibilities individuals might have to those whose problems could be eased by data-driven innovation. Too few policy debates have focused on the responsibility individuals might have to help others by sharing more of their data or how policymakers could increase socially beneficial data sharing. In particular, there are many industries, from healthcare to energy, where increased data sharing could make services fairer and more accurate. If more people shared their data in ways that protect their privacy, then it could fuel new medical discoveries, make insurance policies fairer, and support other social and economic advantages in Europe.

Join the Center for Data Innovation for a series of conversations about rethinking rights and responsibilities in the data society and how policymakers can enable responsible data sharing to improve the economy and quality of life.

Register for event.

Date and Time: Wednesday, April 25, 1:30 PM to 6:00 PM

Location: Résidence Palace – International Press Centre, Polak Room, Rue de la Loi 155, 1040 Brussels, Belgium


Panel 1: The Societal Value of Health Data

Panelists: Adrian Alexa (Chief Technology Officer, Repositive), Miguel González-Sancho (Head of Unit for eHealth, Wellbeing, and Aging, European Commission—DG Health and Food Safety), Denis Horgan (Executive Director, European Alliance for Precision Medicine).

Moderated by Nick Wallace (Senior Policy Analyst, Center for Data Innovation).

Health data is key to improving health care outcomes and efficiency, as well as enabling new innovations such as precision medicine. However, few people consider its importance until they get ill and need the benefits it offers. If researchers had access to a larger trove of health data, including genomic data, they would be able to develop more sophisticated and precise tools for use in healthcare. But building a health data commons is difficult given the strict limitations on collecting and sharing sensitive personal data. What rights and responsibilities should individuals have as researchers strive to build a health data commons, and how can policy support these efforts?

Panel 2: Using Data to Create a More Efficient and Resilient Grid

Panelists: Jānis Folkmanis (Policy Officer, European Commission—DG Research and Innovation), Edit Herczog (Data Sommelier, Research Data Alliance), Roberto Zangrandi (Secretary General, EDSO for Smart Grids).

Moderated by Nick Wallace (Senior Policy Analyst, Center for Data Innovation).

The growing ubiquity of smart meters in residential, commercial, and industrial buildings has created an important source of energy data that may be used to better manage energy supply and demand. For example, data is at the core of efforts to enable greater consumer choice, allowing consumers to change their behavior based on time of day. Similarly, smart devices will be able to optimize their energy consumption based on dynamic pricing. As Europe seeks to build a more efficient and resilient grid, data will be key towards integrating renewable energy sources, implementing advanced metering, and deploying distributed energy resources. This panel will examine current trends in smart meters, the benefits of energy data on grid management, and the implications of restrictive data protection regulations on energy data.  

Panel 3: The Role of Data in Free Online Content

Panelists: Dr. René Arnold (Head of Dept. Marketing and Perspectives, WIK—Wissenschaftliches Institut für Infrastruktur und Kommunikationsdienste), Benedikt Bloemeyer (Policy Officer, Allied for Startups), Townsend Feehan (Chief Executive Officer, Interactive Advertising Bureau Europe), Michela Palladino (Director of European Policy and Government Relations, Developers’ Alliance).

Moderated by Nick Wallace (Senior Policy Analyst, Center for Data Innovation).

Internet users are accustomed to getting online content for free, but the proposed ePrivacy Regulation (ePR) would make it much harder for content providers to earn revenue through advertising. This raises the question of how online content will be funded in the future, if customers are unwilling to part with either their cash or their data. Can users have it both ways? How will tighter controls on advertising impact the online economy, and what are the responsibilities of those who expect to consume the work of others for free?

Register for event.


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