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Meld. St. 22 (2020–2021)

Data as a resource— Meld. St. 22 (2020–2021) Report to the Storting (white paper)

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2 Summary

The data economy has vast potential for growth in the coming years. In its data strategy (2020), the European Commission projects the value of the data economy in EU27 will increase from EUR 301 billion in 2018 to EUR 829 billion by 2025. The data economy in Norway is estimated to represent annual value creation equivalent to NOK 150 billion in 2020. If the right conditions are created, these figures are expected to double by 2030.1 In a data economy, value creation occurs when data constitute a key input factor in the manufacture of goods and services or when data constitute a driver of innovative solutions. New technologies such as artificial intelligence and big data analytics makes it possible to derive more value from data than previously.

The purpose of this report to the Storting is to present the Government’s policy for value creation using data as a resource. The Government wants Norway to leverage the potential of data to enhance value creation, create new jobs throughout the country, and to improve public sector efficiency. Better use of data is important if Norway is to succeed in the transition to a more sustainable society and a greener economy.

The Government’s ambition is to see increased data sharing within the private sector and between the private and public sectors. Although data now account for an increasing proportion of value creation in most Norwegian industries and sectors, the private sector must do even better at using its own data and at sharing within established value chains. Increased digitalisation and better use of data will be important if Norwegian business and industry are to be competitive nationally and internationally.

Public sector information also has value for business and industry when it is used in new contexts and combined with other data, contributing to innovation and to new products and services. Data are already being shared in some sectors and areas of society, and good cooperation models across the public and private sectors have already been established in many areas. Nonetheless, many more public-sector datasets could be made available for reuse. The proportion of public agencies that publish datasets on data.norge.no is still small, and the quality of the data shared could be better. Public agencies could also do better at disseminating knowledge about their own data, motivating others to use them, and facilitating dialogue with business and industry.

The Government wants to see more value created using data as a resource, and wants to facilitate a responsible data economy so that the population can trust the products and services that are based on them. The Government has therefore set the following principles for its data policy:

  1. Data must be as open as possible and as closed as necessary.

  2. should be findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable (FAIR).

  3. Data must be shared and used in ways that create value for the private sector, the public sector and society.

  4. Data must be shared and used in ways that respect fundamental rights and freedoms and preserve Norwegian social values.

Chapter 1: Introduction

Chapter 1 describes the Government’s goals, ambitions and principles for its data policy. It also presents the key terms and necessary conditions for a data-driven economy.

Chapter 3: International cooperation

Chapter 3 discusses the importance of international cooperation for developing Norway’s data economy. Norway is affected by policy and regulatory developments in the EU because several regulations and directives are incorporated into Norwegian law via the EEA Agreement. It is therefore important that digitalisation efforts in Norway are designed to align with EU solutions and strategies in areas that are important for Norway’s data economy.2 The Government will exert its influence and actively contribute to moving common EU regulations and policies in a direction that benefits Norway, and will give priority to doing this in cooperation with the other Nordic countries.

Chapter 4: Data as a resource in business and industry

Chapter 4 describes key conditions for increased sharing and use of data in the private sector and how the Government will encourage greater value creation using data as a resource in the private sector. The extent to which business and industry manage to leverage the value-creating potential of data as a resource will have great significance for the country’s future economy. Increased access to high-quality data will enable start-ups, growth companies and the established business sector to improve their business models, products and services or develop new ones. Better use of data in established value chains will also strengthen competitiveness in Norwegian industry. In some areas Norwegian industry has come a long way in sharing data, such as in the oil and gas industry. Other areas have vast untapped potential, though there are positive signs in agriculture, aquaculture and the building and construction industry.

If the private sector is to share and use more data, businesses and industries need to cooperate on developing common standards for data development and on establishing digital infrastructure that allows enterprises to collect, store, share and analyse data. The private sector also needs access to broadband (fibre and 5G) throughout the country and good data storage capacity. Several public-private sector development projects have been established in which better information flow and data sharing are important components. The Government continually considers possibilities to establish new public-private sector development initiatives.

Increased data sharing makes it more challenging to clarify data access and usage rights (ownership of data). The Government will appoint an interdisciplinary expert group on private sector data sharing to consider common guidelines on responsibility, ownership and usage rights in connection with sharing industrial data. The expert group will also look at roles and responsibilities where public and private entities are involved in the same data value chain.

The Government supports Norway’s participation in the EU programmes DIGITAL and Horizon Europe, and will use its participation to help Norwegian companies and research communities gain access to cooperation partners and resources in artificial intelligence, supercomputers (high performance computing), ICT security and advanced digital skills. These are areas where Norway would have difficulty establishing capacity alone. The Government will also establish Datafabrikken (The Data Factory), a common platform for public and private entities. It will give small and medium-sized enterprises and start-ups easier access to high-quality data, advanced analytics technology for research and innovation, and to consultancy and advisory services. The Norwegian Digitalisation Agency’s National Resource Centre for Data Sharing also plays an important advisory role for public and private sector entities.

Chapter 5: Public sector information as a resource for business and industry

Chapter 5 discusses public sector information (PSI) as an important source of innovation and business development. The Government will facilitate increased sharing of data in an efficient and secure manner. The Government will evaluate stronger incentives for sharing public sector information for reuse, and will appoint a public committee to consider new regulations for data reuse. In addition, the Ministry of Local Government and Modernisation will conduct a survey and evaluation of the data economy in the public sector and make recommendations on various organisational and funding models for sharing public sector information for reuse.

Chapter 6: Skills and research for a data-driven economy

Chapter 6 discusses the importance of skills and research for developing the data economy in Norway. If the potential for value creation in the data economy is to be realised, Norway must have a sufficient supply of the right skills. To meet the demand for skills in the labour market, Norway needs to educate more candidates with specialist ICT skills and to give those already active in the labour market the possibility to develop their skills through courses and further education. There is also a need for more knowledge about the data economy. Many of the issues the data economy raises cut across technology, law, economics and the social sciences. Increased interdisciplinarity in research, study programmes, courses and further education programmes will therefore be important.

Chapter 7: Fair, ethical and responsible use of data

Chapter 7 discusses issues related to what is fair, ethical and responsible use of data and how the Government will facilitate a responsible data economy. A key issue is the work for a level playing field in international competition. It is also important to ensure that the value of data benefits Norwegian society. National and international cooperation will play an important role in this regard.

The Government will also ensure the provision of user-friendly and secure digital products and services for its citizens. Public and private entities will be encouraged to develop solutions that simplify individuals’ access to information on their personal data and control of how the data are processed. The Government will explore the possibility of creating a common solution where citizens can easily find out what type of personal data relevant public agencies hold on them and what possibilities exist to manage the access to and use of their data.

Footnotes

1.

Menon Economics (2019): Er verdiskaping med data noe Norge kan leve av? [Can Norway live off value creation with data?]. Menon publication no. 88/2019

2.

Report to the Storting no. 27 (2015–2016) Digital agenda for Norway: ICT for a simpler everyday life and increased productivity

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