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Press Release: New Data Governance standard to eliminate copies from new applications

Updated: Nov 13, 2021

‘Zero-Copy Integration’ will enable organizations to build digital services without data replication and provide data owners with full control of their information

TORONTO, February 3, 2021 – The Data Collaboration Alliance, a Toronto-based nonprofit focused on data ownership and inclusive innovation, has today announced that Dan DeMers, its President, has joined the Technical Committee for the development of ‘Zero-Copy Integration’, a new Data Governance standard recently initiated by the CIO Strategy Council, an accredited standards development organization in Canada.

The new standard will enable startups, nonprofits, enterprise companies, and public sector agencies to build new digital services without replicating data. Its guidelines will include elements of the Data Collaboration methodology and pioneering ‘network-based’ data management technology that uses data linking as the basis for building new applications, systems, analytics, and automations.

Challenge to Data Governance

Chief Information Officers and other technology leaders are faced with a growing challenge to Data Governance. On one hand, they are required to accelerate the launch of digital services in order to take advantage of major investments in 5G, IoT, artificial intelligence, cloud-hosting, and other leading-edge technologies.

At the same time, Canadian law-makers, regulators, and advocacy groups are demanding that more control be given to the people and organizations who contribute data and sensitive information to the new services.

The root cause of the challenge stems from the application-centric approach to technology design, where new digital services maintain a separate and dedicated database. This approach, which has been standard practice for over 40 years, has given rise to a phenomenon known as ‘data fragmentation’, where operational data becomes separated across hundreds or even thousands of application silos.

The fragmentation problem is currently addressed through a process known as Data Integration, which generates unrestricted copies of data, including sensitive data, between application databases and other data storage environments.

For Canadian organizations, the complexity of the traditional approach to integration represents a significant portion of the time and cost associated with building new data-centric projects, and this is having an increasingly negative impact on the ability to maintain control over data access and usage.

“Canadians are increasingly relying on essential digital services – from purchasing groceries and performing everyday banking to receiving virtual healthcare,” said Keith Jansa, Executive Director of the CIO Strategy Council. “The data collected and consumed by these services through our daily interactions requires appropriate governance to maintain public trust in their effective use.”

Global first for Canada

Canada to develop 'Zero-Copy Integration' a new Data Governance standard to eliminate copies from new applications
Canada to develop 'Zero-Copy Integration' a new Data Governance standard

The proposed Zero-Copy Integration standard will introduce owner-defined access controls that exceed many of the protections outlined in regulations such as Europe’s GDPR, California’s CCPA, and Canada’s recent Bill C-11.

"Data integration is both a challenge and an opportunity for enterprise organizations,” said Neal Oswald, COO and SVP at Concentra Bank. "I fully support developing Zero-Copy Integration into a national standard so Canada can remain globally competitive and continue to lead and innovate.”

By eliminating the costly overhead of traditional integration, the proposed standard also has the potential to provide early-adopters with a competitive edge in international markets.

Dan DeMers, President of the Data Collaboration Alliance stated,

“The recent headlines created by WhatsApp and Apple serve as a timely reminder that real control is what data owners want, not meaningless consent. By eliminating the need to make copies of sensitive information, Zero-Copy Integration will provide digital service providers with an operational blueprint for offering true data ownership. The fact that it also saves a huge amount of time and resources on digital transformation projects should support its rapid adoption.”

Canadian CIOs and technology leaders are invited to visit the Data Collaboration Alliance website to learn more about Zero-Copy Integration and to enquire about participation in the CIO Strategy Council’s Technical Committee which will be responsible for drafting the new standard:


About the Data Collaboration Alliance

The Data Collaboration Alliance is a registered nonprofit that is dedicated to a future where data is fully-controlled by its owners and a more inclusive generation of technologists have the capacity to build data-centric solutions with far greater efficiency than today's app-centric approach. Our pilot projects and free training help to advance the new technologies, standards, and methodologies that eliminate the replication of data and place secure collaboration between people and systems at the heart of digital service innovation. Learn more at #AccessNotCopies

For more information on how this news relates to the WhatsApp/Facebook privacy policy controversy, Apple’s recent privacy update, and Canada’s proposed Bill C-11, please contact:

Chris McLellan, Director of Operations

Data Collaboration Alliance


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