Data Governance and Modern Computer Systems
Alistair R Beresford and Martin Kleppmann
British Academy and Royal Society workshop on the governance of data and its uses,
We were invited to contribute a provocation paper to this interdisciplinary
brought together lawyers, philosophers, historians, social scientists and computer
scientists to better understand the key social and ethical aspects of data
governance and how they are related.
Our paper observes that modern computer systems consist of many different layers
and components, often provided by many different companies, distributed across
multiple jurisdictions. There are both intended and unintended interactions
between these components, and software is often vulnerable and buggy, making it
very difficult to reliably enforce data governance policies. In this context we
call for policymakers to consider not only high-level access control policies,
but also the underlying infrastructure.