HomeInsightsEuropean Commission proposes measures to boost data sharing and support European data spaces

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To better exploit the potential of ever-growing data in a trustworthy European framework, the Commission is proposing to introduce new rules on data governance. The Commission says that the new Regulation will facilitate data sharing across the EU and between sectors to “create wealth for society, increase control and trust of both citizens and companies regarding their data, and offer an alternative European model to data handling practice of major tech platforms”.

The Commission says that the amount of data generated by public bodies, businesses and citizens is constantly growing and is expected to multiply by five between 2018 and 2025. These new rules will allow this data to be harnessed and will pave the way for sectoral European data spaces to benefit society, citizens and companies. In the Commission’s data strategy published in February 2020, nine such data spaces were proposed, ranging from industry to energy, and from health to the European Green Deal.

The Commission says that the Regulation (named the Data Governance Act) will create the basis for “a new European way of data governance that is in line with EU values and principles”, including personal data protection (GDPR), consumer protection and competition rules. It offers “an alternative model” to the data-handling practices of the big tech platforms, which have a high degree of market power due to their business models, which imply the control of large amounts of data. This new approach proposes a model based on the neutrality and transparency of data intermediaries in order to increase trust. A data-sharing intermediary would therefore not be able to deal in the data itself (e.g. by selling it to another company or using it to develop their own product based on this data) and would have to comply with strict requirements.

The Regulation includes:

  • a number of measures to increase trust in data sharing;
  • new EU rules on neutrality to allow novel data intermediaries to function as trustworthy data sharing organisations;
  • measures to facilitate the reuse of certain data held by the public sector, e.g. the reuse of health data to advance research; and
  • means of giving Europeans control over the use of the data they generate, by making it easier and safer for companies and individuals to voluntarily make their data available for the wider common good under clear conditions.

To read the Commission’s press release in full, click here. To access the proposed new Data Governance Act, click here.

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