DPS, Projekte, DataVaults, 10.02.20
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Platform for the secure and fair transmission of personal data: EU project DataVaults successfully completed

News from Aug. 08, 2023

A European data economy for the benefit of all stakeholders  and private individuals with full control over their own data: In the EU DataVaults project, 17 partners from across Europe have been researching on an innovative data marketplace since 2020 which will enable individuals to confidently share their personal data with organisations of their choice  securely, fairly, well-informed, remunerated and at their own discretion. The project has now been successfully completed and key components of the project can be reused.

A strong data economy is emerging in Europe. Companies, public institutions and civil society organisations have long since recognised the immense benefits of big data. However, currently there is a lack of trustworthy platforms for the exchange and mutual use of personal data as well as data protection-oriented analysis methods. This is precisely where the European Horizon 2020 project DataVaults came in, which concluded in summer 2023 after a three-year period. Under the leadership of Fraunhofer FOKUS, 17 project partners from ten EU member states jointly developed a platform that promotes the exchange of personal data between data owners and data seekers and at the same time establishes a fair value for the data to the benefit of all parties involved.

“With DataVaults, we have researched and developed technologies for a data marketplace that enables the trustworthy, efficient and GDPR-compliant exchange of personal data,” explains Yury Glikman, project manager and deputy head of the Digital Public Services business unit at Fraunhofer FOKUS. “DataVaults allows companies and public administrations to set up a secure data collection channel for private individuals. At the same time, our ecosystem creates transparency for private individuals and gives them complete control over what data they share and under what conditions.”

Cloud-based platform secures privacy and facilitates data analysis

Specifically, the project partners developed an architecture which allows private individuals to collect their personal data from various sources, such as social networks or wearables, in a secure location and manage it via a personal app – and share it according to user-defined guidelines. Organisations can request access to this data and purchase it on the basis of smart contracts. The cloud-based DataVaults platform provides services for collecting, processing, indexing and publishing data. Tools for linking data and innovative analysis methods offer the participating organisations the opportunity to derive real added value from the data. The decision-making authority always remains with the private individuals, who are fairly remunerated for sharing their data. Many key components of DataVault can now be reused – they have already been published as open source and are freely available now. The members of the project consortium also pursue the intention of utilising the platform in various areas and are currently examining ways of using it in new projects.

Five demonstrators tested DataVaults under real-life conditions

Public organisations and companies have already tested DataVaults services through five demonstrators in the areas of administration, tourism, energy, mobility and healthcare. In this way, DataVaults has been used on a trial basis to improve administrative services, to design more efficient transport infrastructure and to develop personalised tourism services.

DataVaults project receives highest possible rating from EU Commission

Following its completion, the Horizon 2020 project received the highest possible rating from the EU Commission. The methodology of DataVaults successfully combined established security and data protection standards, data protection-friendly analyses, control options and mechanisms for data exchange into a uniform solution that complies with current EU regulations and ethical standards. In addition, DataVaults was analysed by the EU Commission's “Innovation Radar” and recognised as a mature innovation with high market potential.

The Digital Public Services (DPS) business unit at Fraunhofer FOKUS was responsible in particular for the architecture design of the platform as well as the design and the implementation of components for collecting, indexing, linking and publishing the data. The tools are based on PIVEAU, a software developed at DPS for the preparation, integration, publication and cataloguing of data.