Defining a Datatrust

A datatrust will be an online service that allows organizations to make sensitive data available to the public and provide researchers, policymakers and application developers with a way to directly query that data. We believe the datatrust is only possible with technical innovations that will allow us to provide a new breed of privacy guarantee that is quantifiable and enforceable and community-centered governance and policy innovations that will inspire public confidence.

The following is a largely technical discussion of datatrust functionality. See our work on Governance and Policies for more on how the datatrust will be run and the rights and responsibilities of Data Donors and Data Users.

  1. How will it work?
  2. How will you protect privacy?
  3. What do you mean by a "quantifiable and enforceable" privacy guarantee?

  4. Additional resources.


Here is some of the technical work we've been doing:

A demo of PINQ, a Microsoft Research implementation of differential privacy, a new area of privacy research that we hope to use in the datatrust to automate the "anonymization" process and protect privacy on-the-fly as you query data.

A discussion of what a meaningful, quantifiable privacy guarantee might actually look like.

First steps towards a datatrust prototype.

Work on governance and policy issues critical to the datatrust's viability as a trusted, non-partisan, third-party holder and access point for sensitive information.