In a legal setting, trusts are entities in which some people (trustees) look after an asset on behalf of other people (beneficiaries) who own it. In a data trust, trustees would look after the data or data rights of groups of individuals. And just as doctors have a duty to act in the interest of their patients, data trustees would have a legal duty to act in the interest of the beneficiaries.
– MIT Technology Review
I believe in human potential—health, education, and human dignity—and that belief not predicated on selling data or invading privacy. And so I have founded an independent nonprofit, a Socos Foundation Data Trust, that holds all of the data shared by users across all our many projects in a legal trust. Its responsibility is not to me, my research, or any of my companies, but solely to the users and our shared mission to foster health and human potential. Neither we nor any of our partners can ever sell your data because we don’t own it—you do.
To learn more or even become a member of the Data Trust, just follow this link.
A data trust is a legal structure designed to protect and manage sensitive data on behalf of individuals, organizations, or communities. The Socos Foundation Data Trust serves a number of unmet needs for individual users and organizations:
- Protecting privacy: By placing control of data in the hands of an independent third party, data trusts can help to safeguard the privacy of individuals whose data is being collected, processed, and used.
- Ensuring equitable distribution of benefits: One of the mandates of the data trust’s board is to ensure that the benefits of data are distributed equitably, especially in cases where data is generated by marginalized communities who may not have the resources or power to protect their interests.
- Promoting transparency: Algorithmic transparency comes from clear rules and guidelines for how data will be collected, processed, and used. The data trust’s independence supports a more transparent decision-making process for all stakeholders.
- Encouraging innovation: Data trusts can provide a secure and trusted environment for organizations to access and use data, which can encourage innovation and the development of new products and services that benefit society. Part of Dionysus’s motivation in founding the trust is to foster independent, scientific research and philanthropic development for the public good.
- Establishing trust: Data trusts can help to establish trust between data providers and data users by creating a neutral and impartial entity that manages data in an ethical and responsible manner.
Overall, data trusts can play a crucial role in ensuring that data is used for the benefit of individuals and society, rather than being monopolized by a few powerful actors for their own benefit.
We've donated all of our Mad Science projects at Soos Labs into the Trust, and we've also made some new partners: