Data Sharing Key to Solving Asia’s Biggest Economic and Societal Challenges: Microsoft Asia Whitepaper
- The whitepaper, created with the Open Data Institute, captures lessons from governments and organizations in Asia that have embarked on data sharing initiatives
- Building a foundation of trust, greater public-private collaboration, and a proactive approach by governments will unlock new opportunities to innovate and solve Asia's biggest challenges
SINGAPORE - Media OutReach - 28 September 2021 - Microsoft today, with support from the Open Data Institute (ODI), released a whitepaper that reveals lessons to help governments and organizations in Asia fully realize the benefits of data sharing and collaboration. It found that establishing a foundation of trust through privacy, security and governance; collaboration between public and private sector stakeholders; and actions by governments to create a strong enabling environment, were crucial to building momentum on data sharing.
Today, 50% of the data generated by online interactions is amassed by less than 100 companies. If this 'data divide' continues, economic value will flow only to a few economies and companies in the region. The whitepaper titled "Sharing Data for Impact: Lessons from Data Sharing Initiatives in Asia" was launched as part of Microsoft's ongoing efforts to address the data divide, by empowering people and organizations to share and use data more effectively and equitably. With support from ODI, the whitepaper features learnings from 10 case studies of data collaboration across markets in Asia – including Australia, India, Indonesia, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, and Taiwan.
Mike Yeh, Regional Vice President and Director of Corporate, External and Legal Affairs, Microsoft Asia, said: "Data is indispensable to managing some of Asia's most urgent challenges – from combatting the pandemic, to reducing carbon emissions, and tackling cybersecurity. Regardless of the problem that Asia faces, there's a good chance that data can be part of the solution. Asia is uniquely poised to be a leader in unlocking the potential of data sharing, as a populous, mobile-first region. But we know that unlocking that potential can only happen when a foundation of trust is established, and when the public and private sectors work together. At Microsoft, we are committed to partnering and growing with governments and organizations in the region to unlock the plentiful opportunities data can bring to Asia."
Jack Hardinges, Programme Lead, Data Institutions, Open Data Institute, said: "Data sharing is most successful when governments and organizations work together to drive an enabling environment that upholds security, privacy and interoperability. We are committed to building a world where data works for everyone. This means getting data to those who need it, particularly in response to UN Sustainable Development Goals. The case studies that inform the whitepaper's learnings show us that Asia is on the way to establishing an open, trustworthy data ecosystem – and can take intentional steps to close the 'data divide' in ways that benefit societies and economies."
Dr. Meri Rosich, Chief Data Officer, Standard Chartered Bank, said "Data has the immense capability to unlock a more sustainable future for Asia, and create more value for businesses, governments and societies. Data science is maturing in the region, bringing us opportunities to skill and mature the workforce, customize solutions for customers, build better infrastructure and innovate. All these should be strengthened by established governance policies and strong ethics principles to drive the transformation that advanced data and AI solutions can bring."
Trust Foundational to Data Sharing
A common theme is that a lack of trust can undermine data sharing initiatives – but this can be overcome through efforts to protect privacy and security, and through strong governance models:
- Privacy management practices are essential, and there is a key role for tools like confidential computing and differential privacy – a practice used in the opening of LinkedIn's labor market insights data
- To uphold security in data sharing, security-by-design approaches and alignment with security certifications promote trust - cloud-based solutions for data sharing deliver cutting-edge security protections for organizations sharing data
- Governance models can also be built to protect commercial sensitivities – Through the AI Data Consortium in Japan, contract templates and smart contracts are being developed for AI practitioners to share data more easily
Greater Public-Private Collaboration
The whitepaper further establishes that opportunities for data can only be maximized through active public-private collaboration. Impact is greater when data is useable and interoperable.
- Collaborating on data reaps benefits – such as in sharing LinkedIn data on in-demand roles to close skills gaps in Asia or Microsoft cyber threat intelligence open-source data on COVID-19 related threats to bolster cybersecurity and inform policymaking
- Useability and interoperability can be better facilitated through publishing data that anyone can use and redistribute and is available in common formats with no useability restrictions
Governments to Lead the Charge
Lastly, the paper demonstrated that governments have a key role to play in creating an enabling environment for data sharing to flourish. Priority actions for governments are to publish more useable government data, implement national data sharing policies, and engage with industry and other stakeholders to ensure that regulations affecting data sharing are balanced and transparent. Further regional cooperation to support data sharing through groups like ASEAN and APEC would also have significant positive impact.