A data owner is a stakeholder responsible for the classification, protection, use, and quality of a dataset. Data owners need to consider the interests of the people in the organization who are using the data, as well as those of the data subject (i.e., the individual whose data is being processed). In the context of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), data subjects are legally viewed as the ultimate owners of their own personal data – giving them the right to request a copy of the data, or its deletion.
The concept of data ownership may be challenging for some in the organization, as there could be different interests at play with regards to a specific dataset or data initiative. However, identifying data owners helps to ensure accountability, define policies, create trusted data, and eliminate redundancies in data management. The data owner does not necessarily have to be the person who created the data or the department that uses it most frequently.