“Doing for data what the Internet did for communication”
GovTech Lab is developing a number of products – the first of which is “DataNet” – a unique approach to data infrastructure designed to capitalise on innovative new technologies and provide economies of scale across multiple different areas of society – commercial, research and societal or governmental. Building on technology economics, our principles enable the development of new, data-driven industries.
The world – and technology industry – is experiencing a nexus of complex and interacting issues. Privacy and security of data are colliding with issues of ethics and the concepts of ‘public good’. Where digital technologies have been seen as a panacea for many different issues in business and society, the increasing monopolisation of data by large-scale companies based out of the USA are causing increasing concern across the world. At the same time, climate concerns mean that the world needs to be thriftier in how it applies digital technologies – cloud computing alone is predicted to consumer 20% of worlds’ energy consumption by 2040. Through applying innovative techniques, the technology industry can ensure that technology is used as efficiently as possible.
As a background to these broader contexts, data from all multitude of sources is now defining our world – leading multiple companies and governments at both local and national levels to attempt to understand how to best utilize these technologies for profit and also efficiency gains, while ensuring jobs and economic growth. In today’s world, every individual company is building its own solution to data management, including identity, security, trust and storage. Government agencies are doing the same thing. This leads to numerous inefficiencies in the architectures, infrastructure and delivery of emerging technologies that overall prevent scaling of solutions and business propositions.
DataNet is a technical architecture and economic vision in response to these challenges – a national infrastructure designed to build a new data-driven economy – allowing SMEs as well as large companies to take full advantage of the IoT and data-driven world in an economically and environmentally sustainable fashion.
A major opportunity therefore exists to launch a global infrastructure to support the safe sharing of data applying blockchain, AI/ML and emerging communication infrastructures such as 5G. Numerous groups world-wide are building proprietary blockchain platforms for private data (ex. health data, government data), KYC, support of collaborations (e.g. Legal Services). It can be likened to the early days of the internet – with everyone seeking low level protocols to support a global data infrastructure.
The DataNet technology stack sits between the Internet and some large-scale grand challenge projects. GovTech Labs are: firstly, producing the DataNet protocol specification and secondly developing a UK proof of concept system that will integrate the public sector organisations.
Upon DataNet, new industry sectors such as global eServices, Research, and Government services, will sit.
DataNet, coordinated by Dr. Catherine Mulligan CTO and Honorary SRA at UCL, is producing a specification for the low-level protocols for generalising identity and interoperability; it will sit between existing blockchain platforms and the Internet. The protocols comprise of:
a) Addressing – presumably both an IP-like address and a URI/URL is required;
b) Data Tagging – a data tagging or standard for mapping, accessing and exchanging data electronically (cf. FHIR);
c) Trust – a sophisticated system to dynamically manage the ‘trust’ level of all entities (cf. GOV.UK Verify, KYC);
d) Security – a robust security mechanism (cf. homomorphic encryption, zero-knowledge proof);
e) Permissioning – owner permissioned access (e.g. patient, doctor);
f) Data usage – a secure APP or wrapper used by both the owner and recipient to enforce the usage of permissioned data.
Related Papers and Publications
Algorithmic Government - The Computer Journal
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