What does it says the “European strategy for data”? https://ec.europa.eu/info/sites/info/files/communication-european-strategy-data-19feb2020_en.pdf

The measures laid out in this paper contribute to a comprehensive approach to the data economy that aim to increase the use of, and demand for, data-enabled products and services throughout the Single Market.

The way in which data is stored and processed will change dramatically over the coming 5 years. Today 80% of the processing and analysis takes place in data centres and centralised computing facilities, and 20% in smart connected objects, such as cars, home appliances or manufacturing robots, and in computing facilities close to the user. By 2025 these proportions are likely to be inverted.

Data will reshape the way we produce, consume and live. Data is the lifeblood of economic development. It is an essential resource for start-ups and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in developing products and services.

The EU´s digital strategy “Shaping Europe´s digital future” proposes green transformation measures for the Information and communications technologies (ICT) sector.

A large part of the data of the future will come from industrial and professional applications, areas of public interest or internet-of-things applications in everyday life. The sources of competitiveness for the next decades in the data economy are determined now.

The European data space will give business in the EU the possibility to build on the scale of the Single market.

Several issues are holding the EU back from realising its potential in the data economy. Progress will need to be made together on the following issues:

Availability of data: The value of data lies in its use and re-use. Currently there is not enough data available for innovative re-use, including for the development of artificial intelligence.

Data for the public good: to combat emergencies, such as floods and wildfires, to ensure that the people can live longer and healthier lives, to improve the public services and tackle environmental degradation and climate change.

Use of public sector information by business: Opening government-held information is a long-standing EU policy.

Sharing and use of privately-held data by other companies (business to business B2B): In spite of the economic potential, data sharing between companies has not taken off at sufficient scale.

Use of privately-held data by government authorities. The recommendations of an Expert Group created by the Commission, include the creation of national structures for B2G data sharing, the development of appropriate incentives to create a data-sharing culture.

Data interoperability and quality: Data interoperability and quality, as well as their structure, authenticity and integrity are key for the exploitation of the data value, especially in the interoperability issues which impede the combination of data from different sources in a coherent and interoperable manner across sector and vertical markets should be encouraged through the rolling plan for ICT standardisation and (as regards public services) a strengthened European Interoperability Framework.

Data infrastructures and technologies: the digital information of the EU economy depends on the availability and uptake of secure, energy-efficient, affordable and high-quality data processing capacities, such as those offered by cloud infrastructures and services, both in data centres and at the edge.

However, problems persist on both the supply and demand side of cloud:

EU-based cloud providers have only a small share of the cloud market, which makes the EU highly dependent on the external providers, vulnerable to external data threats and subject to loss of investment potential for the European digital industry in the data processing market:

Concerns have been voiced about several Chinese laws related to cybersecurity and national intelligence.

The EU is developing common rules on access to electronic evidence, based on high level of protection of fundamental and procedural rights.

Since increasingly large amounts of data may be faced with risks of discrimination, unfair practices and “lock-in” effects. In response to his, there are calls to give individuals the tools and means to decide at gradual level what is done with their data. This promises significant benefits to individuals, including to their health and wellness.

Currently, big data and analytics are top of the list of critical skills shortages. In 2017, there were approximately 496.000 unfilled positions in the area of big data

The must be enabled a legislative framework for the governance of common European data spaces. This cloud includes a mechanism to prioritise standardisation activities and to work towards a more harmonised description and overview of datasets, data objects and identifies to foster data interoperability.

The commission will work on making more high-quality public sector data available for re-use, in particular in view of its potential for SMEs. In order to open up key public sector reference data set for innovation, it shall start the procedure for the adoption of an Implementing act on high-value data sets. Also, the commission will explore the need for legislative action on issues that affect relations between actors in the data-agile economy to provide incentives for horizontal data sharing across sectors. One or more of the following issues could be taken forward in a Data Act (2021):

  • Fosteer business-government data sharing for the public interest also in the light of the recommendations included in the report of the Expert Group on Business-to-Government
  • Support business-to-business. The general principle shall be facilitate voluntary data sharing.
  • Only where specific circumstances so dictate, access to data should be made compulsory.

The Commission will provide more guidance to stakeholders on the compliance of data sharing and pooling arrangements with Eu competition law by means of an update of the horizontal Co-operation Guidelines.

In the exercise of its merger control powers, the Commission will look closely at the possible effects on competition of large-scale data accumulation through acquisitions and at the utility of data-access or data-sharing remedies to resolve any concerns.

All companies which sell goods or provide services related to the data-agile economy in the EU must respect EU legislation and this should not be compromised by jurisdictional claims from outside the EU.

Enablers: Investments in data and strengthening Europe´s capabilities and infrastructures for hosting, processing and using data, interoperability

Startup and scale-ups will play a key role in developing and growing disruptive new business models that fully take advantage of the data revolution. Europe should offer an environment that supports data-driven innovation and stimulates demand for products and services that rely on data as an important factor of production.

In the period 2012-2027, the commission will invest in a High Impact Project on European data spaces and federated cloud infrastructures.

The project will fund infrastructures, data sharing tools, architectures and governance mechanisms for thriving data-sharing and Artificial Intelligence ecosystems.

This project needs to be seen in the context of a wider set of strategic EU investments in new technologies that the commission will present in March 2020 as part of its industrial strategy.

The Commission intends to fund the establishment of EU-wide common, interoperable data spaces in strategic sectors.

Currently, no comprehensive overview of the EU rules and self-co-regulatory schemes is available for cloud providers and users. In this context, the Commission will bring together a coherent framework around the different applicable rules for cloud services, in the form of a “cloud rulebook”.

Empowering individuals, investing in skills and in SMEs.

Individuals should be further supported in enforcing their rights with regard to the use of the data they generate.

By 2025, the EU and Member States should have halved the current gap of 1 million digital specialists.

The data spaces will be developed in full compliance with data protection rules according to the highest available cyber-security standards. The Commission will also support the establishment of the following nine common European data spaces:

A common European:

  • Industrial (manufacturing) data space
  • Green Deal data space
  • Mobility data space
  • Health data space
  • Financial data space
  • Financial data space
  • Energy data space
  • Agriculture data space
  • Spaces for public administration
  • Skills data space

European companies operating in some third countries are increasingly faced with unjustified barriers and digital restrictions. The EU will continue to address the unjustified obstacles to data flows in bilateral discussions and international fora.

The Commission will create a European analytical framework for measuring data flows.

The EU will support Africa in creating an African data economy for the benefit of its citizens and business.

Conclusion

The Commission puts forward a European data strategy whose ambition is to enable the EU to become the most attractive, most secure and most dynamic data-agile economy in the world- empowering Europe with data to improve decisions and better the lives of all of its citizens. In enumerates a number of policy measures and investments needed to achieve this goal.

The EU has to seize its window of opportunity in the data economy.

 

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