Summary

Diverse organizations that are not yet required by law or regulation to share data hold many types of data now needed for early detection and characterization of outbreak. For this reason, the art of negotiation will be important in biosurveillance for the near term. Some general principles to improve the likelihood of getting to yes include involving relevant governmental organizations; identifying the decision makers; paying exquisite attention to the needs of the data provider; handling problems expeditiously; tracking the process closely; using fact sheets to educate the decision makers about the legal, workflow, and technical dimension of the request; making the business case; making the scientific case; and providing a draft DUA.

We expect that in the near future, negotiations will begin to expand to include services as well as data. The general principles apply equally to these agreements.

The primary constraint on what is feasible is primarily ethical, in particular, the ethical balance between an individual right to privacy and confidentiality versus the expected benefit to society of sharing data. Most projects today are pioneering and exploring both the best technical and ethical means to maximize the benefit to society by better sharing of data. The results of these pioneering projects will likely influence the laws and regulations that will obviate the need for negotiation and facilitate a more rapid realization of improved systems of biosurveillance.

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