April 12, 2021
In February 2020 the European Commission unveiled its European Data Strategy, aimed at creating a single market for data that will ensure Europe’s global competitiveness and data sovereignty. According to the Commission, common European data spaces will ensure that more data becomes available for use in the economy and society, while keeping companies and individuals who generate the data in control. The Commission’s proposed Data Governance Act, which sets out measures to boost data sharing and support European data spaces, and on which the EDPS and EDPB recently issued a joint Opinion calling for legislators to ensure that it is fully in line with EU personal data protection legislation, is part of the Commission’s European Data Strategy, as is its White Paper on Artificial Intelligence also published in February 2020.
In a report adopted by the European Parliament in response to the European Data Strategy last week, MEPs call for legislation focused on people, based on European values of privacy and transparency, that will enable Europeans and EU-based companies to benefit from the potential of industrial and public data.
MEPs said that the Coronavirus crisis has shown the need for efficient data legislation that will support research and innovation. Large quantities of quality data, notably non-personal (industrial, public, and commercial) already exist in the EU and their full potential is yet to be explored. In the coming years, much more data will be generated. MEPs expect data legislation to help tap into this potential and make data available to European companies, including small and medium-sized enterprises, and researchers.
However, MEPs stressed that rules should be based on privacy, transparency and respect for fundamental rights. The free sharing of data must be limited to non-personal data or irreversibly anonymised data. Individuals must be in full control of their data and be protected by EU data protection rules, notably the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). MEPs called on the Commission and EU countries to work with other countries on global standards to promote EU values and principles and ensure the EU’s market remains competitive.
Calling for the free flow of data to be the guiding principle, MEPs urged the Commission and EU countries to create sectoral data spaces that will enable the sharing of data while following common guidelines, legal requirements and protocols. For further information, click here.