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In trust, data

By Keith Porcaro. Full Text.

This Essay explores how the trust, and specifically the asset management functions that trust law affords, can be used to ameliorate select digital governance challenges. A trust’s ability to isolate assets can protect public interest technology projects against organizational failure, facilitate archiving and study of proprietary and deprecated software, and help multi-party data-sharing collaborations manage complex value allocations. The equitable remedies that a trust makes available can facilitate a strong, norm-setting form of data license that enables beneficiaries to claw back unauthorized data derivatives. I also briefly critique the increasing prevalence of “data trusts” as a catch-all term for community data protection schemes.