Force Google, Apple and Uber to share mapping data, UK advised

Aliya Ram and Madhumita Murgia at the Financial Times: “The UK government should force Google, Apple, Uber and others to share their mapping data so that other companies can develop autonomous cars, drones and transport apps, according to an influential campaign group. The Open Data Institute, co-founded by Tim Berners-Lee at MIT and Nigel Shadbolt, artificial intelligence professor at the University of Oxford, warned on Tuesday that big tech companies had become “data monopolies”.

The group said the UK’s Geospatial Commission should ask the companies to share map data with rivals and the public sector in a collaborative database or else force them to do so with legislation.

“Google along with all of the other companies like Apple and Uber are trying to deliver an excellent service to their clients and customers,” said Jeni Tennison, chief executive of the Open Data Institute. “The status quo is not optimal because all of the organisations we are talking about are replicating effort. This means that people are overall not getting the best service from the data that is being collected and maintained. “The large companies are becoming more like data monopolies and that doesn’t give us the best value from our data.”

On Tuesday, the UK government said its Office for Artificial Intelligence had teamed up with the ODI to pilot two new “data trusts” — legal structures that allow multiple groups to share anonymised information. Data trusts have been described as a good way for small business to compete with large rivals that have lots of data, but only a handful have been set up so far.

The trusts will be designed over the next few months and could be used to share data, for example, about cities, the environment, biodiversity and transport. Ms Tennison said the ODI was also working on a data trust with the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, and local authorities in Greenwich to see how real time data from the internet of things and sensors could be shared with start-ups to solve problems in the city. London’s transport authority has said ride hailing apps would be forced to turn over travel data to the government. Uber now provides public access to its data on traffic and travel conditions in the UK….(More) (Full Report)”.