Blog Post

Introducing The Municipal Data Sharing Mandate Policy Hub

  • Stephen Larrick
| Feb. 04, 2022

As shared in my previous post, my research as an academic year 2021-2022 Technology and Public Purpose (TAPP) fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center is focused on what we can learn and understand about the future of the city by exploring a new kind of policy local public agencies are increasingly adopting in response to digital sharing economy platforms deployed in their jurisdictions: data sharing mandates. 

These sometimes controversial policies have become a key battlefield in an ongoing power struggle between cities and digital platforms. Debates over privacy, tech accountability, and digital sovereignty, point to the need for productive discourse about data sharing mandates and their implications for local democracy.  

That’s why today I’m excited to announce the launch of a new resource intended to inform the discourse: the Municipal Data Sharing Policy Hub.  


My team and I have been hard at work gathering dozens of local government data sharing mandates—relatively recent policies that require sharing economy platforms providing services such as ride hail (ex. Uber), short-term rentals (AirBnB), or micromobility (ex. Lime) to share data with a local government agency on a regular basis. We’ve scoured government websites to find buried PDFs, given these policy documents close reads, and structured them with some basic standardized metadata. 

Today, for the first time, we’re sharing that work publicly so that researchers, advocates, and policy makers can access these resources on one website designed to make finding, analyzing, or comparing these novel policies easier. 

For now, the MDSPH website is simple. It includes  

  • a brief introduction to the project and why these policies are worthy of consideration, analysis, and scrutiny 

  • a basic interactive map that shows data sharing mandates plotted geospatially by jurisdiction 

  • an open spreadsheet containing over 60 data sharing policies, structured tabularly with the following fields: 


where the policy has been adopted or where it applies 

“policy type” 

whether the policy is a law/ordinance, an administrative regulation, a permit or license application requirement, or some other policy instrument 

"platform type” 

whether the policy applies to ride hail platforms, short term rental platforms, micromobility platforms, or some other kind of sharing economy platform or technology 


“policy link” 

provides a direct link to the original policy file, as provided by the relevant government agency 


“policy date” 

the date a policy was adopted or went into effect 

  • a shared folder / “repository” through which anyone can download all the raw policy PDFs in bulk. 


While the map, database, and downloadable repository are important first steps, we hope to do more to increase access to these novel data sharing policies by adding functionality to the MDSPH site in the coming weeks: 

  • Search policies by text - we have been using optical character recognition (OCR) to generate raw text data for each policy. We hope to make searchable text files available for download soon, and to provide functionality enabling visitors to the MDSPH to search the full data sharing policy corpus for key words or phrases (such as “privacy”, “API”, or “standard”) 

  • More metadata / tags - we have been giving close reads to many of the policies collected thus far, asking key questions and analyzing the policies by key parameters as we do. We hope to share some of this analysis in the form of additional metadata fields or tags in the future, to aid in discoverability, comparability, and analysis of trends. 

We know that this first list of data sharing mandates is incomplete so, we’ll continue to add data sharing mandates to the database, map, and repository as we go, and would love your help! If you are familiar with any policies requiring sharing economy platforms to report data to local government agencies that we may have missed, please fill out our policy submission form here. 


Beyond providing access to policy documents, a big goal in launching the MDSPH website is to share an open invitation to the community for collaboration, contributions, and criticism, as we advance our project work from collecting policies to making sense of them. So, to any data nerds and policy wonks out there: if you are interested in digital platform regulation, data sharing, and the future of urban governance, we’d love to hear from you! Here are some ways to get involved: 

  • Help collect policies - As mentioned earlier, you can send us leads on data sharing mandates we may have missed via our policy submission form here

  • Participate in an interview - If you have a story to share about any of the policies or programs we’ve aggregated in the MDSP Hub—especially if you have direct experience drafting, implementing or complying with a data sharing mandate on the public agency or private platform side of things—we are eager to interview you. Sign up for an interview here or else don’t be surprised if we end up in your inbox with an interview request. 

  • Reach out to collaborate or just because - If you are an academic researcher or anyone else interested in collaborating, or even just in chatting us up, feel free to email me at 

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: Larrick , Stephen.Introducing The Municipal Data Sharing Mandate Policy Hub .” Perspectives on Public Purpose, February 4, 2022,

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Photo of Stephen Larrick