R. Raši: Data is Extremely Valuable, But it is Important to Focus on Data Protection and Security

Many of our economies are digital today, and there that data is more valuable than ever. Data in the 21st century is as important as oil in the 20th century. Only a state that knows its data perfectly and knows how to manage it effectively can now simplify the lives of its citizens, said Richard Raši, the Deputy Prime Minister in Paris today.  

However, data must not only be perfectly managed, but also protected and secured. Therefore, the main topics raised by R. Raši today, at the Paris Council of Ministers of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), were the issues of digital security, trust and consumer protection. The OECD Council of Ministers meets on 22 and 23 May 2019 in Paris. The meeting of ministers from more than 36 countries is chaired by Slovakia and Peter Pellegrini, its Prime Minister.

In addition to Richard Raši, Deputy Prime Minister, the keynote speakers included Taro Kono, Japanese Foreign Minister, and Pierre Gramegna, Luxembourg Finance Minister. The participants spoke about the effects of possible data misuse, such as the impact on finance, independence, security, health, but also the disruption of vital services, such as transport or energy supply. “The main goal of today’s meeting was to talk about how to get the most out of digital transformation, and how we can tackle the challenges we face,” said Richard Raši, Deputy Prime Minister. As he continued, “data has become a key value that changes our way of life, reforms governance, affects our day-to-day actions, and sets a whole new perspective on property or relationships. The responsible politician cannot decide on the basis of feelings, but on the basis of real data and their evaluation.”

Slovakia wants to lead the countries that will contribute to capturing the global trends and help solving the challenges. The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister of the Slovak Republic for Investments and Informatisation (ODPMII) also established the Data Office that coordinates the development of the complex data issue, and also monitors and captures the trends beyond our borders. In addition, the Control Sandbox is being prepared that would test the future legislative proposals, and collect and evaluate data before they become generally binding. ODPMII is also preparing a laboratory for better services and digital innovation that will work with the Data Office to address data efficiently. Data collection and efficient processing are also important prerequisites for the development of artificial intelligence.

However, there is a risk of misuse if data is shared online. In particular, the personal data of our citizens need to be protected but, at the same time, we need to work with them at some level in order to deliver simple, efficient and profitable services. The public administration needs to be able to share and use the needed data and not have to ask them from the citizen repeatedly. “At the same time, we need to develop mechanisms to ensure that only those data are published that may be published, and those that may not be disclosed to the public will be responsibly and safely protected,” explained R. Raši.

Data is often exchanged across borders as well, since the technology of data exchange does not know the national borders. That is why security and privacy of individuals and businesses concerns are often increasing. More than half of the OECD’s privacy policies focus on raising awareness and empowering the status of individuals. As the Deputy Prime Minister, he further explained in the panel that the individuals are increasingly trying to be more confident and gain more control over the way their data is handled. “Citizens want to know if and what personal data is collected about them, how they are used and whether they can delete them or modify or control their use,” he said.

The OECD is working intensively on recommendations for data flow management, digital security and privacy. Every effort should be made to avoid the generation of the limited regional or national rules on our own, and to address this situation together.

Within the Slovak Presidency, the OECD Council of Ministers approved recommendations for artificial intelligence, the Declaration on Public Sector Innovation, and other relevant documents. The particular success of the Slovak mandate is that it has been able to provide US support to these strategic materials, which has not happened over the past two years. Finally, ministers from 36 Member States called on the OECD to continue intensively to analyze the appropriate technical solutions and tools for successfully managing the digital transformation.

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