The federal government wants to tap the potential of open and shared data for society as a whole. For this purpose, it decided on a data strategy with 240 line items on Wednesday. Especially during the corona pandemic, “we have come to appreciate new technologies,” said Chancellor Helge Braun (CDU). Here, for example, more data would be exchanged in the areas of health and mobility, which “increases the resilience of our society”.
90 percent of the available measured values and comparable information have so far been lying idle, explained Braun, they could be worth around 435 billion euros for Germany alone by 2025. The government therefore wants to concentrate on a “good infrastructure” for data exchange with projects such as the Gaia-X cloud project for business and efficient data centers. The data strategy also provides for a national research data platform which, among other things, will bring together cancer registers and create “large databases” for training systems for artificial intelligence (AI), for example for the analysis of X-ray images.
More data sharing
Entrepreneurs have to open up to share their data with the competition, said Braun. In the USA, logistics companies have seen that, given the mass of mobility data from large companies, they could take a back seat when developing algorithms for delivery. Therefore, an association has set up clear rules for data sharing in order to consolidate the competencies as an industry. As an incentive for companies in this country, in accordance with the planned European Data Governance Act, data trustees are to be used, who are described in the strategy as “trustworthy intermediaries”.
According to Braun, all those involved should be able to rely on the fact that secure methods for anonymization and pseudonymization as well as practical data portability and IT security are adhered to. The cabinet has already agreed on this in a key issues paper in 2019. The government wants to check whether a specific legal framework for Personal Information Management Systems (PIMS) is necessary, which should ensure data protection law and protect the interests of users.
The state, which itself is sitting on large databases, wants to take the lead. In addition to the official data protection officer, a “Chief Data Officer” or scientist is to be installed in each Federal Ministry as a “data usage officer”. They are intended to ensure that data is used better and more intensively in the federal authorities and that it is made available openly.
Avoid traffic jams, improve the air
The government wants to significantly increase awareness of the topic of “handling data” among the general public, business and science and to this end, in February, for example, launch a “national digital education offensive”. “Data competence is part of the ABC of digitization”, underlined Digital State Minister Dorothee Bär. Even elementary schools should teach “how to read data correctly”.
The CSU politician said that the sharing of data is “still filled with fears for many people”. The “upper bracket” of the strategy is therefore to promote positive, innovative and new business models in this area. The fact that the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is observed does not have to “automatically appear in every second sentence”. You can “just tick the box” behind it.
The “very concrete benefits of data for every single citizen” and the community should become more clear, added Bär. Every municipality could theoretically use location data from the cell phone to avoid traffic jams or to improve the air. “The economy can build better factories thanks to sensors,” she brought up another example. “Data will help to better understand and fight the virus.” The Christsoziale defended the fact that the strategy should also be discussed on Wednesday with users of the Clubhouse app, which is controversial under data protection law: They want to “try something out” and not talk everything to death in advance.