The Icebreaker One Trust Framework

The Icebreaker One Trust Framework is based on the following principles:

  • Cohesion — common rules 
  • Interoperability — common processes 
  • Legality — framework data rights, liability, redress
  • Controllability — rights-based consent management
  • Ubiquity open to the whole market

Together, addressing these principles can enable both commercial and open data sharing at scale.

Icebreaker One implements its Trust Framework with three elements:

  1. Forum — a process through which stakeholders are convened to define needs, priorities and standards.
  2. Search — a service that enables data discovery
  3. Access Control — a service that enables data suppliers to control access to data users


Our three priorities to deliver a cohesive and interoperable data infrastructure are:

1. Design for search — the foundation for discovery and access

Data must be usable by machines, not just humans. Policies must mandate that data be machine-readable in order that it may be collected and used in an efficient manner.

As important is the ability to discover that the data exists, what it is, where it is from, and how it may be used. This ‘metadata’ is a priority to make available so that data may be found and information about it accessed. Policies must mandate the production of meta-data that will aid discovery.

This first priority is independent of the specifics of any taxonomy, ontology or other structural design. Such designs are numerous and domain-specific.

2. Address data licensing policies — the foundation of access and usage

Licensing can determine how data may be used. To unlock the value of Priority 1, policies must mandate the publishing of licenses (or usage rules) as metadata under an open license. This is essential to enable large-scale, many-to-many discovery that data exists in a usable form.

Policies should mandate the publishing of any non-sensitive data under an Open license (this mirrors the open-by-default policies of many countries).

Policies should mandate the publishing of sensitive data using a Trust Framework.

3. Address data governance — the foundation of open markets

Data increases in value the more it is connected. A focus on systemic cohesion and interoperability reduces the burden of sharing by creating common rules and frameworks for sharing that address good data governance.

It ensures data is used appropriately for the purposes intended, addressing questions of security, liability and redress. Organisations must address their own data governance and should aim towards common rules and processes to increase adoption, reduce costs and simplify interactions between data suppliers and data users.