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JTC Supports Launch of World First Data Trust in Jersey

6th Jun 2023

JTC, and JTC Law, have played key roles as one of the partner organisations involved in launching a world first ‘data trust’ in Jersey.

Delivered by Digital Jersey and The Jersey Office of the Information Commissioner, alongside several local firms and organisations, The LifeCycle Data Trust, currently part of a pilot project, is the first data trust to be established under Jersey trust law and is seen as a ground-breaking development that brings together Jersey’s world-renowned expertise in trust law and its growing presence in the digital space.

The pilot project will explore how Jersey trust law and local trustees can adapt to looking after data, instead of money or assets, in turn setting out how Jersey could play a leading role in responsible data stewardship. The concept involves the innovative use of a trust structure to hold personal data so that it can be stored, managed and shared safely, lawfully, in accordance with the trust parameters and applying fiduciary duties to the stewardship of data in a highly regulated environment.

The LifeCycle Data Trust is a mixed or hybrid trust meaning that it is established as a non-charitable purpose trust for data stewardship purposes during the period of the pilot project and then latterly for the benefit of beneficiaries in order to terminate the trust.  JTC is acting as enforcer of the LifeCycle Data Trust, whose responsibility it is to enforce the purposes of the LifeCycle Data Trust during the period of the pilot project.

Whilst data trusts are not a new concept, The LifeCycle Data Trust, it is believed, is the first data trust which contains all three of the following elements, which are likely to be attractive to corporates looking to collect and warehouse their data:

  • It is established as a trust whereas many other so called data trusts are in fact not trusts but another type of legal vehicle;
  • It applies fiduciary duties to the trustees and the enforcer of the data trust which are enforced by the supervisory jurisdiction of the Royal Court of Jersey; and
  • It requires the trustees and the enforcer of the data trust to comply with FATF International Standards of Financial Regulation, enforced by the Jersey Financial Services Commission, and the EU GDPR standard for data protection enforced by the Jersey Office of the Information Commissioner.

David Dorgan of JTC Law, who advised Digital Jersey on The LifeCycle Data Trust, emphasized just how exciting it is to be part of the project:

“As a forward-thinking business, JTC is always looking to align itself with cutting edge and innovative developments and the LifeCycle Data Trust certainly fits that description. In a world where data and information is hard to keep private, data trusts are a new way for business or people to control and benefit from their data. They pose a conceptual change in the way data is managed and should complement Web3 – the anticipated next evolution of the worldwide web – which envisions a new way in which the internet deals with personal data; in particular giving users more control over their data.”

“It that light, it is really exciting for JTC to be at the forefront of helping to shape data stewardship and position Jersey as a leading jurisdiction in this space. There are many so called data trusts where the data trustees are not subject to fiduciary duties, let alone international standards of regulation, and there has been a call, particularly in the USA, for such trustees to be subject to a higher standard of care when holding personal data.”

About The LifeCycle Data Trust

The Lifecycle Data Trust will focus on collecting data from cyclists in Jersey, with a view to creating a pool of information about cycling in Jersey.

With the help of cyclist volunteers, See.Sense safety lights attached to bikes combine highly advanced sensor and AI-fusion technology to get a detailed understanding of the cycling experience. While switched on the See.Sense light monitors the environment up to 800 times per second and shares insights about cyclists’ journeys and ride experience.

The data can then be pooled with other cyclists, with all the insights being anonymised to help plug a data gap about cycling on the Island. These insights can ultimately help inform decision making around cycling infrastructure, planning, policy, safety measures, carbon reduction, transport changes and new local cycling services.

David added:

“This isn’t just a geeky cycling initiative – it’s a conceptual change in data management that is truly innovative. Crucially, under the data trust, people remain in control of their data.  There are strict limitations on what information can be shared.  Any data sharing is subject to a data request procedure in the control of the trustees who will vet data requestors who want to see LifeCycle data.  Also, there are persons (whether individuals or organisations) who are ineligible to request data from the trust.”

“This is a far cry from certain other apps or initiatives, where signing up means corporates can access and pass on personal data at whim because it belongs to them and not you”

Further information about good data stewardship and seeing the impact of JTC’s work can be found via the LifeCycle website and through the Digital Jersey Blog ‘Jersey Data Trusts: a closer look’.

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