EC Proposal Seeks to “Unleash EU’s Data Economy”

“The EU is currently not making the most of its data potential”, finds the European Commission, which on 10 January 2017 revealed a proposal of legal and policy solutions to “unleash the EU’s data economy”.  INTUG is working on its Position for the EU's Consultation.

The proposal includes solutions for free flow of data, and clarifications for several legal uncertainties. The initiative will contribute to removing remaining obstacles within the Single Market.

As Andrus Ansip, Vice-President for the Digital Single Market, said: "Data should be able to flow freely between locations, across borders and within a single data space. In Europe, data flow and data access are often held up by localization rules or other technical and legal barriers. If we want our data economy to produce growth and jobs, data needs to be used. But to be used, it also needs to be available and analyzed. We need a coordinated and pan-European approach to make the most of data opportunities, building on strong EU rules to protect personal data and privacy."

Specifically, the proposal calls for:

  • Engaging in structured dialogues with Member States and stakeholders to discuss the proportionality of data localization restrictions. The goal is also to collect further evidence on the nature of these restrictions and their impact on businesses, especially SMEs and startups, and public sector organizations.
  • Launching, where needed and appropriate, enforcement actions and, if necessary, take further initiatives to address unjustified or disproportionate data location restrictions.

Regarding legal uncertainties created by emerging issues in the data economy, the Commission seeks views on possible policy and legal responses regarding:

  • Data access and transfer. Wide use of non-personal machine-generated data can lead to great innovations, startups and new business models born in the EU.
  • Liability related to data-based products and services. The current EU liability rules are not adapted to today's digital, data-driven products and services.
  • Data portability. Portability of non-personal data is currently complicated, for example, when a business wants to move large amounts of company data from one cloud service provider to another.

 You can read the full press release here .


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