COVID-19 response efforts that use privately held data to inform government decisions have come together rapidly. The urgency of the crisis enabled these initiatives to circumvent many of the well-known barriers that historically held back the use of private data for public good at scale. But, urgency has also led to partnerships being established without firm policy, regulatory, capacity, and technical foundations. Rather than waiting for the crisis to end to learn from this experience, we saw an opportunity for practitioners to learn alongside ongoing initiatives.
With support from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, we created a four-part virtual series to share learning from current response efforts and to identify lessons that might help address the commonly known barriers to public-private data sharing, and pave the way for more scalable, sustainable and responsible private data use in the future. This report captures the context, approach, themes, key lessons, and recommendations that came out of the series.