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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 September 2018

Dubai Government to share data with public by 2021 

The Dubai Data Policies aim to make residents' daily lives more seamless 

Younus Al Nasser, assistant director general of Smart Dubai and chief executive of Dubai Data Establishment, estimates that by opening and sharing government data, Dubai stands to generate an additional value of $6.6 billion. Pawan Singh / The National
Younus Al Nasser, assistant director general of Smart Dubai and chief executive of Dubai Data Establishment, estimates that by opening and sharing government data, Dubai stands to generate an additional value of $6.6 billion. Pawan Singh / The National

Dubai authorities will open a vast array of data to the public and private businesses by 2021 as part of efforts to become a smarter and more connected city.

From providing information to the public to selling data to businesses, Data Policies – launched on Monday by the Smart Dubai Office in collaboration with Dubai’s Supreme Legislation Committee – will give residents access to information that was previously very difficult to obtain, said Younus Al Nasser, assistant director general of Smart Dubai and chief executive of Dubai Data Establishment.

“It used to be impossible to know what data was available in the government but now we have an inventory of big data, smart data and open data and by opening and sharing government data, Dubai stands to generate an additional value of $6.6 billion,” he said.

“Data is key for our smart transformation. At the World Government Summit last week, most leaders committed that data is the fuel of the future.

“Here in Dubai, we are focusing on building a proper strategy, frameworks and policies that address the importance of data towards any smart transformation and a better future,” he said.

The project follows the launch of the Dubai Data Law in October 2015 to set up a comprehensive data system and govern the collection exchange of city data.

“Our leaders asked us to ensure any smart project has an economic impact so the value added will be Dh10 billion by 2021,” he said, adding that the revenue would be generated through the selling of some of the data while other information will be made available for free.

Other than give residents access the information, the initiative will also organise the publishing and sharing of data as a key component of Dubai’s Digital Wealth.

“We’re bringing data to a level that will make it easy to exchange,” Mr Nasser said.

“But we have to make sure we can trust it so the policy is to prepare a proper governance of this data and improve transparency of what data can bring to individuals.

“The Data Law identified five policies to follow, including data classification, protection, intellectual property rights, use and reuse of data and technical standards,” he said.

The law will outline a set of provisions for the classification, publishing, exchange, use and reuse of data, as well as for protecting the privacy of data and individuals, and protecting copyrights.

Its objective is to make Dubai the smartest city, facilitate a seamless exchange of information, promote innovation and knowledge, inspire trust and promote governance.

“When we’re crafting policies, we shouldn’t just think of the current situation,” he said. “It’s an area of disruption that’s coming in the future so we’re preparing by harnessing the most valuable data to make sure they’re ready for machine learning and AI. It’s digital wealth that has to be retained for the next generations, if we’re truly diversifying from fuel, and this will allow us to design a better future.”

More than 800 data sets were identified and classified so far.

“With this data, we can collect all the information from Dubai to issue such laws and this decree will help all data to be protected and to be smart for the collectors who want to get some data from Dubai,” said Ahmad bin Meshar, secretary general of the Supreme Legislation Committee.

It will fall under three different categories, including open data which will be shared with the public, for instance accessing accidents happening in Dubai. The second type will be confidential, from government to government, and the third will be monetary where the government and private sector will create a data economy by commercialising some of its data. The economic impact will be measured this year.

“By 2021, we want to have 100 per cent of government data on open channels and shared portals to be available,” Mr Nasser said.

“The way we look at data has changed and we’re trying to integrate it between the government and private sector and make it seamless.”

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