Data governance

Data governance refers to the governance of data between states and the management of international data flows. It involves the whole life cycle of data – from collection, processing, storage, use, security, and management of data.

Data governance has grown from a mainly privacy-related issue to a multifaceted one, with implications reaching the economy, law enforcement, cybersecurity, and even geopolitics.

Data-driven business models are growing fast and are becoming critical in all sectors of the economy, from manufacturing to services. The processing of personal data (information relating to an identified or identifiable person) also enables scientific advancements in fields that range from healthcare to autonomous driving. Large datasets help lawmakers enact effective public policies and power digital government.

In such a context, the international flows of data have become increasingly important for states and companies, and are playing a key role in various treaties, conventions, and trade agreements around the world. The regulation of these flows, therefore, has become an important matter for stakeholders on a global scale.

There are several reasons why a country might want to regulate its data flows: i) to safeguard the privacy of its citizens, as is the case for most data protection legislation; ii) to meet other regulatory objectives, such as access to information for auditing purposes; iii) for national and cybersecurity reasons; and iv) with the aim of developing domestic capacity in data-intensive sectors, as a form of digital industrial policy.

There are four main facets of data governance: technology, economy, security, and law and human rights.

Data governance

Mr Pedro Vilela Resende Gonçalves

Director, Institute for Research on Internet & Society

Mr Pedro Vilela Resende Gonçalves is founding director of the Institute for Research on Internet & Society. Pedro holds an LLB from the Federal University of Minas Gerais and collaborates on data protection at the Alexandre Atheniense Law Firm.

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