In trust, data
10 Pages Posted: 14 May 2019 Last revised: 15 Mar 2021
Date Written: March 15, 2021
This essay explores how the trust, and specifically the asset management functions that trust law affords, can be used to ameliorate select digital governance challenges. A trust’s ability to isolate assets can protect public interest technology projects against organizational failure, facilitate archiving and study of proprietary and deprecated software, and help multi-party data-sharing collaborations manage complex value allocations. The equitable remedies that a trust makes available can facilitate a strong, norm-setting form of data license that enables beneficiaries to claw back unauthorized data derivatives. I also briefly critique the increasing prevalence of “data trusts” as a catch-all term for community data protection schemes.
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