Trusts are generally set up to protect, administer and distribute valuable property. It is common for such property to include cash, shares, investment portfolios, immoveable property and even pets. However, in a world first, a trust is to be created in Jersey in order to hold, manage and protect a forthcoming stream of data. This striking initiative is taking place in Jersey with the help of Digital Jersey and the Jersey Office of the Information Commissioner and has been named 'LifeCycle'.

So, what is LifeCycle for and how does it work?

What is it for?

The information to be created is data about the activities of island cyclists as they move around Jersey. The aim is to promote cycling as a mode of transport in the island. The data will include information such as the most common journeys islanders take, road conditions, collisions, swerving and braking and general conduct on the road network. Ultimately, the goal is to identify the island's traffic management hot spots and find out where better active travel infrastructure could most efficiently be provided.

How does it work?

The data will be collected through lights, called "See.Sense Safety Lights", which cyclists will have to fix to the rear of their bikes. The lights just look like standard bicycle lights but they are a highly advanced technology which combines sensors and AI intelligence to monitor a cyclist's environment up to 800 times per second. The lights work along an app which cyclists will be able to use in order to report safety and infrastructure issues. All the data collected will eventually be anonymized. As the data assembled grows so it will acquire commercial value but also it will become a source of information of great assistance to the Govt of Jersey in its work to promote cycling as a safe, sustainable and healthy way to travel around Jersey.

The Law

The data trust has been set-up as a non-charitable purpose trust. It therefore does not have beneficiaries but instead the assets held are to be devoted to promoting a purpose. Because a purpose is unable to hold trustees to account, a person, known as an 'Enforcer', is appointed to do so on its behalf. The trust will be administered by professional trustees. They will have the same duties as traditional trustees under the Trusts (Jersey) Law 1984, which include exercising their powers with due diligence, as a prudent person would and to the best of their ability and skill. Moreover, trustees will have to preserve and enhance the value of the trust property which, unusually, will consist entirely of data which will have a growing commercial value. Consideration must also be given to the Data Protection (Jersey) Law 2018 and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Information about a cyclist's movements and conduct could be sensitive and require safeguarding. The trustees will be responsible for analysing the data and deciding when and how to share it with third-parties. Only organizations aiming to improve cycling in Jersey will be able to access the 'insights' compiled.

Next steps

LifeCycle has been set up for an initial period of a year. It is currently looking to recruit around 200 cyclists with a view to sharing the information gathered later in 2023. If the project is a success, it may be extended. LifeCycle has been launched as part of Digital Jersey's Data Stewardship Services programme which aims to explore the potential for synergies between the management of the vast amounts of digital data that can now be gathered and Jersey's mature and sophisticated trust administration sector. This initiative could mark the beginning of a new species of Jersey trust: the data trust, where valuable but sensitive information is managed by professional trustees with experience of complex fiduciary responsibilities.

Want to know more?

The Viberts' Trust Team can advise data controllers or trustees who might be interested in setting up a data trust or a data trust service, or indeed advise on any matter, whether contentious or uncontentious, regarding Jersey trusts. Please feel free to call 01534 888666 for a no obligation initial discussion.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.