Access and Feeds

Open Data: Bridging the Data Inequality Gap

By Dick Weisinger

Top-tier technology companies are accelerating their dominance because of their access to large amounts of data.

Brad Smith, president at Microsoft, noted that half of all data created on the internet is collected by fewer than 100 tech companies that are located either on the west coast of the US or the east coast of China.

Microsoft calls this disparity between big tech companies and everyone else in their access to large amounts of data a “digital divide”. The idea that the divide can be leveled has been the impetus behind Microsoft’s recent launch of an Open Data Campaign. Businesses of all sizes should be able to access and tap into the value of large data sets.

Jennifer Yokoyama, chief IP counsel at Microsoft, wrote that “closing the data divide is a big challenge. But the benefits for organizations of all sizes, and the broader community are significant if we can work together to make progress on open data. We’re committed to making our contribution, and we look forward to working with, and learning from, others so that everyone can realize the benefits of data.”

Yokoyama wrote that “from climate change to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is clear that data plays a critical role in helping us understand these challenges and addressing them. To fully realize the benefit of data, we need to develop the ability to share data across organizational boundaries in a way that is safe and secure, and allows the data to be used effectively. If ever there was a time to accelerate the world’s efforts around open data, it is now.”

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