Growing up in Canada and now living in the UK, I am still regularly astonished how narrow roads can be considered two-way. Not only are the Devon lanes or back streets of London or Oxford considered two-way, there also is no where to go but back if you meet another vehicle. And yet, we manage and it is ‘normal’. And whether it ‘works’ or not depends on how you define ‘works’.
The idea of data sharing is a bit like roads. However, in addition to the options of one-way or two-way, it can also be multi-directional like a roundabout. When a different option then one-way is chosen, then data sharing is mutual.
At its most basic, one-way is I give you data – this is easiest to set up. Two-way is I give you data, you give me data – this is bit more complicated to set up. Multi-directional is when there are multiple parties giving data to each other – this is often complex.
Of course, there are many issuing to work through regarding data sharing including which data, why, who needs to be informed/involved in the decision making, and so on. Determining which option to pursue should be driven by the purpose behind the data sharing. And yet, it is often a reflection of the power dynamics at play in the situation.
If it is only one-way that is chosen, it is not a partnership it is a contractual relationship. And the multidirectional roundabouts option of data sharing are the future. It is not the law or data protection or data privacy that is the challenge, it’s us. Do we have the will to make it reality.