Data trusts: data governance that empowers the public to share in AI's benefits

Tuesday, March 26, 2019 17:30to19:00
Chancellor Day Hall NCDH 316, 3644 rue Peel, Montreal, QC, H3A 1W9, CA

Join us for an AI and the Law conference with Philip Dawson, Public Policy Lead, Element AI.


From e-commerce and email to mobile apps, consent to the collection and use of personal data has become a condition of participation in the digital economy.

While online platforms have facilitated many aspects of our lives, the models of data governance they employ tend to concentrate access to data and the benefits of artificial intelligence in the hands of a few large technology companies—excluding citizens from sharing in their value. Recent scandals have also illustrated the extent to which these data governance models make us vulnerable to attacks on our privacy rights, and other human rights abuses. To restore public trust, new approaches to data governance are desperately needed.

“Data trusts” — a third-party stewardship model of data governance based on the common law trust — have the potential to to reinforce data governance and promote public trust. In a recently released white paper, Element AI examines how data trusts could be used to: provide individuals with a greater measure of control over their personal data; increase access to data and foster innovation; address asymmetries of power that exist between corporations, the government and individuals; enhance the protection of individual privacy and other human rights; and, empower the public to share in the value of data and artificial intelligence.

More work is needed to flesh out this concept, so come along and join the discussion!

About the speaker

Philip Dawson is Public Policy Lead at Element AI, an artificial intelligence products provider based in Montreal, Canada and a global thought leader in the adoption of responsible AI. Previously, Phil worked as a policy advisor at the United Nations aviation agency, working with governments and international organizations on the development and implementation of international standards and policy guidance. A member of the Quebec bar, Phil began his career in civil and commercial litigation with a prominent national law firm. Phil holds undergraduate degrees in political science and law from McGill University, as well as a master's degree in comparative politics from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

AI and the Law Series

The AI and the Law Series is brought to you by the Montreal Cyberjustice Laboratory; the McGill Student Collective on Technology and Law; the Private Justice and the Rule of Law Research Group; and the McGill Centre for Intellectual Property Policy.

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