Data Policies

The project Data Policies: Regulatory Approaches for Data-Driven Platforms in the UK and EU is part of the broader initiative Policy Frameworks for Digital Platforms – Moving from openness to inclusion led by IT for Change.

Thematically, the project will concern policy frameworks pertaining to data collection, analysis, and sharing, and thus the core of the business model of online platforms. It will investigate how their key activity in increasingly datafied societies is regulated, analyze the effectiveness and shortcomings of existing policy, and develop proposals for policy innovation. Geographically, the study will focus on the United Kingdom as a jurisdiction where new laws – the Investigatory Powers Act (2016) and the Digital Economy Act (2017) – have changed the regulatory environment for platforms and are likely to influence policy development in other countries. Further, it will incorporate the regional context of the European Union where a significant and potentially transformative new policy – the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) – will come into effect May 2018.

The project addresses the following research questions:

  • In what way do new laws and regulations in the UK – particularly, the Investigatory Powers Act, the Digital Economy Act and the General Data Protection Regulation – either limit or advance data collection, analysis and sharing?
  • What aspects of structural exclusions, inequalities and discriminations in the platform economy do they address?
  • What are the gaps in the policy framework regarding the protection of citizens against data-related harms?
  • What alternative policy approaches are needed to protect citizens?

This project is made possible through a grant from IDRC India.