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Data sharing between public and private actors in the public interest

A first legal assessment toward a legal blueprint

From the City of Hamburg to other European cities

In today's rapidly transforming economy and society, data has become the meta-utility with the potential to revolutionize how we work, live, and travel. Nowhere is this more evident than in cities, where a multitude of digital devices and sensors generate an abundance of data, encompassing almost every aspect of urban life. Despite this data treasure trove, its potential for public good has remained largely untapped, primarily due to data residing in private silos and scarce fair private-public sharing arrangements. This is problematic since data is a key element to creating more democratic and sustainable futures. Therefore, there needs to be a better understanding and, more importantly, a better framework for governing and sharing data in the public interest – and blueprints for how private-public data sharing can work.

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Addressing this issue, The New Hanse investigates and tests next-generation data sharing agreements and governance models that facilitate Business-to-Government-to-Society (B2G2S) data sharing, which means the sharing of data between the private, public and third sectors at the city level. At the core of this initiative is the Urban Data Challenge Hamburg, facilitating the exchange of private and public micromobility data to drive green and sustainable innovation and enhance urban planning for the benefit of citizens. This experiment allows us to draw conclusions from hands-on testing to achieve the desired objective of data sharing for the public interest.

We have asked legal scholar Max von Grafenstein of the Einstein Center Digital Future and the Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society to delve into these questions with a specific view on implications for the City of Hamburg, and other European cities. We have commissioned a preliminary legal assessment by taking an interdisciplinary data governance perspective. This report "The New Hanse: Data Sharing between public and private actors in the public interest", that was finalized end of 2022, outlines the intricate and ever-evolving landscape of privacy and business protection laws, local laws (such as the Hamburg Transparency Act or the Berlin Mobility Act), Member States laws (such as the German Federal Passengers Transportation Act), and EU laws (such as such as the EU Data Act).

Legal assessment: Data sharing between public and private actors in the public interest