Governing data and artificial intelligence for all: Models for sustainable and just data governance


With a particular focus on artificial intelligence (AI), this study identifies and examines policy options for the EU’s data governance framework that align with a data justice perspective. A data justice approach is one that centres on equity, recognition and representation of plural interests, and the creation and preservation of public goods as its principal goals. The analysis offers both an assessment of the EU data governance strategy overall and specific policy options for the AI act, the data governance act and the data act. Four benchmarks for good data governance are proposed, in line with the principles of justice: preserving and strengthening public infrastructure and public goods, inclusiveness, contestability and accountability, and global responsibility. Exploring examples of different governance models, we examine how these models and options intersect, and what lessons they offer for the EU case.

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About the project

Places and populations that were previously digitally invisible are now part of a ‘data revolution’ that is being hailed as a transformative tool for human and economic development. Yet this unprecedented expansion of the power to digitally monitor, sort, and intervene is not well connected to the idea of social justice, nor is there a clear concept of how broader access to the benefits of data technologies can be achieved without amplifying misrepresentation, discrimination, and power asymmetries.

We therefore need a new framework for data justice integrating data privacy, non-discrimination, and non-use of data technologies into the same framework as positive freedoms such as representation and access to data. This project will research the lived experience of data technologies in high- and low-income countries worldwide, seeking to understand people’s basic needs with regard to these technologies. We will also seek the perspectives of civil society organisations, technology companies, and policymakers.