Data economy

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The data economy is an economy based on data, data technologies, products, and services.[1] The data economy has its origins in the new economy—the transition from a manufacturing- to a service-based economy.[2]

The data economy, a global phenomenon, is a digital ecosystem consisting of various participants, such as data suppliers and users.[1] The term refers to the ability of organizations and people to leverage data as an asset. Data is utilized to make strategic decisions, improve operational efficiencies, drive sustainable growth, well-being, and innovations. The value and impact of data are increased by situational, contextual, historical, and temporal factors. Integrating, refining and sharing data increase its value and impact.[3][4] The effective use of data can lead to company growth, improvements in quality of life, and the creation of efficient societies. However, the effective use of data can be hindered by unrefined data form, data models, and issues with the efficient exchange of data.[5]

Data economy categories[edit]

Big data economy[edit]

Big data is often defined as algorithm-based analyses of large-scale, disparate digital data for purposes of prediction, measurement, and governance.[6][7]

Human-driven data economy[edit]

The human-driven data economy is a fair and functioning data economy in which data is controlled and used fairly and ethically in a human-oriented manner.[8][9] The human-driven data economy is linked to the MyData Movement and a human-centered approach to personal data management.[10]

Personal data economy[edit]

The personal data economy is created by individuals using personal data all people supply directly or indirectly. Consumers become suppliers and controllers.[11][12]

Algorithm economy[edit]

In an algorithm economy, companies and individuals can buy, sell, trade, or donate individual algorithms or apps pieces.[13]

Transition to data economy[edit]

Market size[edit]

The size of the EU data economy was estimated to be more than €285 billion in 2015, representing over 1.94% of the EU GDP. Key sectors in the data economy either are or are on the way to becoming data-driven, for example, manufacturing, agriculture, automotive, smart living environments and telecommunications. Healthcare and pharma are also at the core of the data economy.[1]


We are moving towards a fair data economy that benefits everyone. Management of personal information makes everyday life easier and adds to well-being. A unified procedure opens up opportunities for user-oriented innovations and business activities.

Individuals have control over the data concerning themselves. Individuals can actively define the services and the conditions under which their personal information is used. The service providers worthy of people’s trust can also get access to significantly more extensive and varied data e-services.


Approaches to data breaches are problematic. Challenging issues include compensation to victims, incentives for enterprises to invest in data security, and uncertainties for corporations about regulatory burdens and litigation risks.[14] Data portability might decrease interest in innovations.[1]


The regulation of the data economy is closely linked to privacy. The present approach is flexibility, finding a balance between protecting privacy and allowing citizens to decide for themselves. The European Union EU GDPR regulation is one cornerstone of this new regulatory framework.[15][16] A new paradigm for data governance is needed, with data ethics as a central component in all regulatory reforms.[17]


The data economy raises concerns about regulatory uncertainties and incoherence, privacy, ethics, the loss of control of data, and the ownership of data and related rights.[18][19][20] Mathematical models and algorithms based on them are too often opaque, unregulated, and incontestable.[21]

Some concerns have been raised about internet companies controlling the flow of data and using it to gain power.[22]

The critiques expressed in the 2012 General Data Protection Regulation GDPR draft of the European Commission have now led to concrete regulations:

“This is why it is time to build a stronger and more coherent data protection framework in the EU, backed by strong enforcement that will allow the digital economy to develop across the internal market, put individuals in control of their own data and reinforce legal and practical certainty for economic operators and public authorities.”[23]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Communication on Building a European Data Economy, Digital Single Market, COM(2017) 9 final". European Commssion. Retrieved 20 August 2018.
  2. ^ Alexander, Charles P. (May 30, 1983). "The New Economy". TIME. Retrieved 20 August 2018.
  3. ^ Chamberlin, Bill. "The Data Economy: 2016 Horizonwatch Trend Brief". Horizon Watch. IBM Expert Network. Retrieved 20 August 2018.
  4. ^ Cao, Longbing (October 2017). "Data Science: A Comprehensive Overview". ACM Computing Surveys (CSUR). 50 (3): 1–42. doi:10.1145/3076253.
  5. ^ "The Fundamental Problem of the Data Economy Nobody is Talking About". Hacker Noon. 2018-07-18. Retrieved 2018-11-20.
  6. ^ Flyverbom, Mikkel; Madsen, Anders Koed (January 2015). Sorting data out – unpacking big data value chains and algorithmic knowledge production. Die Gesellschaft der Daten. Über die Digitale Transformation der Sozialen Ordnung. doi:10.4135/9781412985871. ISBN 9780803972377.
  7. ^ Satell, Greg. "5 Things Managers Should Know about Big Data Economy". Retrieved 7 September 2018.
  8. ^ "Human-Driven Data Economy". Sitra. Retrieved 7 September 2018.
  9. ^ "Prepare for a new human-driven data economy HealthTech Wire". HealthTech Wire HIMMS Europe. May 23, 2018. Retrieved 7 September 2018.
  10. ^ Dehaye, Paul-Olivier (December 21, 2017). "PersonalData.IO helps you get access to your personal data". Open Knowledge International Blog. Retrieved 7 September 2018.
  11. ^ Syrjänen, Tuomas (January 24, 2018). "The Rise of the Personal Data Economy". GreenBook Blog. Retrieved 7 September 2018.
  12. ^ Personal Data: The Emergence of a New Asset Class (PDF). World Economic Forum. January 2011. p. 40. Retrieved 7 September 2018.
  13. ^ "What is the Algorithm Economy". Techopedia. Retrieved 7 September 2018.
  14. ^ Daly, Angela (2018). "The introduction of data breach notification legislation in Australia: A comparative view". Computer Law & Security Review. 34 (3): 477–495. doi:10.1016/J.CLSR.2018.01.005.
  15. ^ Davies, Jamie (August 2018). "It turns out regulating the data economy is really hard". Telecoms news. Retrieved 27 August 2018.
  16. ^ Abate, Serafino (13 August 2018). "Is the data economy self-healing, or should economic regulation be considered?". GSMA. Retrieved 27 August 2018.
  17. ^ Maya, Uppaluru (April 16, 2018). "The U.S. Needs a New Paradigm for Data Governance". Harward Business Review. Retrieved 7 September 2018.
  18. ^ Wendehorst, Christiane; Cohen, Neil; Weise, Steve (August 25, 2017). "Feasibility Study ALI-ELI Principles for a Data Economy" (PDF). European Law Institute. Retrieved 20 August 2018.
  19. ^ Crabtree, Andy; Lodge, Tom; Colley, James; Greenhalgh, Chris; Mortier, Richard; Haddadi, Hamed (November 2016). "Enabling the new economic actor: data protection, the digital economy, and the Databox". Personal and Ubiquitous Computing. 20 (6): 947–957. doi:10.1007/s00779-016-0939-3.
  20. ^ Tene, Omer; Polonetsky, Jules (April 2013). "Big Data for All: Privacy and User Control in the Age of Analytics". Northwestern Journal of Technology and Intellectual Property. 11 (5). Retrieved 20 August 2018.
  21. ^ O'Neil, Cathy (September 6, 2016). Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy. Crown Publishing Group.
  22. ^ "The world's most valuable resource is no longer oil, but data". The Economist. Retrieved 2018-11-20.
  23. ^ "Proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and the Council on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data (General Data Protection Regulation GDPR). COM(2012) 11 final" (PDF). European Parliament. Retrieved 20 August 2018.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]