This essay explores how the trust, and specifically the asset management functions that trust law affords, can be used to ameliorate select digital governance challenges. A trust’s ability to isolate assets can protect public interest technology projects against organizational failure, facilitate archiving and study of proprietary and deprecated software, and help multi-party data-sharing collaborations manage complex value allocations. The equitable remedies that a trust makes available can facilitate a strong, norm-setting form of data license that enables beneficiaries to claw back unauthorized data derivatives. I also briefly critique the increasing prevalence of ‘data trusts’ as a catch-all term for community data protection schemes.
Porcaro, Keith, In trust, data (March 15, 2021).