Public bodies’ access to private sector data
The perspectives of twelve European local administrations
Keywords:data governance, data power, B2G data sharing, data cities, data policy, qualitative research, interviews
Public bodies’ access to private sector data of public interest (also referred to as business-to-government (B2G) data sharing) is still an emerging and sporadic practice. The article discusses the findings of a qualitative research that examined B2G data sharing in European local administrations. Drawing from semi-structured interviews with managers and project leaders of twelve municipalities, the study contextualizes access to private sector data in the perspectives of those working in the field. The findings examine the four operational models to access data that featured more prominently in the interviews: data donorship, public procurement of data, data partnerships and pools, and data sharing obligations. The analysis highlights the power unbalances embedded in B2G data sharing as perceived by representatives of local administrations. In particular, the findings address the gap between municipalities in the opportunities to access private sector data of public interest, the lack of negotiating power of local administrations vis-à-vis private sector data holders and the strategies envisioned to foster more inclusive forms of data governance.
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