On April 21st the world’s most valuable tech firm, Microsoft, joined a fledgling movement to liberate the world’s data. The company plans to launch 20 data-sharing groups by 2022 and give away some of its digital information, including data it has gathered on COVID-19. Microsoft is encouraging non-commercial sharing, firm developing software, licenses and rules frame workers to let firms trade data or provide access without losing control. Microsoft has found a newfound fondness for sharing in the age of COVID-19.

“The world has faced pandemics before, but this time we have a new superpower : the ability to gather and share data for good”

Mark Zuckerburg, the CEO of Facebook, written in the Washington Post on April 20th. The case for sharing data predates the pandemic but if data were widely exchanged, many states could enjoy gains worth 1-2.5% in GDP. The estimate is based on heronic assumptions. Many governments have recognized the potential. Cities from Berlin to San Francisco have “open data” initiatives, according to The Economist.