Estimated reading time 5 min

A new rulebook sets out the guidelines for a fair data economy

The first version of the rulebook creates a framework for new data networks in which data can be shared more freely, transparently and safely. The rulebook offers, for example, tools and agreement templates to facilitate data network building.


What is the rulebook?

The rulebook defines the legal, business, technical and administrative rules that organisations need to comply with when sharing data in a data network. The guidelines devote particular attention to ethical principles, in addition to the privacy and data protection requirements.

The guide contains model agreement templates, a range of control questions, code of conduct templates and other tools that enable the creators of the data network rulebook to pay more attention to the special requirements related to the new co-operation model.

“We want to give the first version of the rulebook to data network developers, although we are well aware that the content will be further developed and edited according to each network,” says Jyrki Suokas, Leading Specialist at Sitra, who was head of the rulebook working group. “The only way to complete this stage of the development work and to create a tool which actually benefits the data network creators is to test the current version in practical projects.”

Work will continue to develop further versions of the rulebook, which can be ordered using the form (link at the end of this article). The working group members highlight below some main contents of the rulebook’s first version.

Signing agreements becomes easier

“The Constitutive Agreement drafted by the data network’s founding members and its appendices form the framework for the rulebook,” says Jorma Yli-Jaakkola, Counsel at Borenius. “New members of the data network join this agreement with simple commitments and comply with the data network rules. The model agreement templates offer the basic structure and principles for drafting the final agreements for the founding members of the data network.”

“The control question list guides the building of the contractual and other content of the new data network rulebook step by step,” says Kai Kuohuva, Senior Legal Counsel at Tieto. “These questions help us to focus on the essentials and to identify the most common risks. The question list is constantly supplemented and specified.”

“The agreement templates facilitate and speed up the agreement drafting process. Similar rules also help different data networks form networks of data networks. These larger ecosystems enable better and safer data use in improving operations and building new services,” says Olli Pitkänen, CLO at 1001 Lakes Oy.

“The rulebook provides clear, extensive and enabling rules for the right of use of data by default in the same way as the Technology Industries of Finland’s data sharing model agreement,” says Jussi Mäkinen, Head of Digital Regulation at the Technology Industries of Finland. “The new model extends the concept of two-way data sharing into a multi-organisational data network model.”

Fair business models create value for everyone

Marko Turpeinen, CEO of 1001 Lakes, underlines the importance of the rulebook’s business section: “Business models form the core of the data network. The rulebook creates fair principles for the actions of different parties, added-value creation and transferring of value created through data sharing between different operators of the network. The parties must also decide how transparent the network’s business principles are to parties outside the network and what the terms and conditions are under which new members can be accepted into the data network.”

Innovations emerge from the right technical choices

“The technical part of the rulebook helps define the internal interfaces of the data network. Furthermore, it provides the operators with tools to find the best possible technical solution, which is a good starting point for architects and programmers,” says Sami Jokela, CTO at 1001 Lakes. “We do not take a stand on which technical solutions should be used. Instead, we guide the data network creators towards solutions that best fulfil their requirements.”

“At the moment, we see several solutions for data operator-centric markets. Although the technical solutions differ, they share a common need for a fair and open governance model,” says Antti Kettunen, Senior Blockchain Consultant at Tieto. “The technical solutions of the data networks are continuously evolving, but, without a strong rulebook and governance model, none of these solutions will make it to production.”

Fair data sharing at the core

“Clear ethical values that guide our actions sufficiently well form the basis for a fair data economy,” say Jani Koskinen, post-doctoral researcher at the University of Turku and Kari Hiekkanen, Research Fellow at Aalto University. “The rulebook template includes a carefully thought-out ethical and human-driven value model which is crystallised in the Code of Conduct of the data network and in the Ethical Canvas, which is under development. They and the actual agreements guide the actions of the data network members.”

Next steps

“The rulebook model must be acid tested with real use cases,” says Petri Laine, Research Scientist at VTT, who is conducting a research project about building data networks between organisations. “In our work, we need this kind of a tool. We will give feedback and development proposals on the content and structure for the following version.”

“The aim is to update this current version after the acid-test phase in the first half of 2020. In the following updates, we will concentrate on translating the content into Finnish and filling the gaps observed in the use cases. We will start the productisation of the rulebook into an easy-to-use tool once we have received enough feedback and user experiences. So far, this current version of the operating model will have to suffice,” says Jyrki Suokas from Sitra.

Download the rulebook

Download the newest version of the Rulebook for a fair data economy. The rulebook is available also in Finnish.

Updated the download links on 30 June 2020.

What's this about?