In the DSM strategy the Commission recognised the importance of the data economy. Data technologies and services that can be used for the collection, processing or storage of data (e.g. cloud computing, big data, the Internet of Things), are essential factors of progress in the new era of digitalisation.
In the section on “Maximising the growth potential of the Digital Economy” the DSM strategy committed the Commission to proposing a European ‘Free flow of data’ initiative to tackle restrictions on the free movement of data within the EU and unjustified restrictions on the location of data for storage or processing purposes. In addition, it stated that the initiative “(…) will address the emerging issues of ownership, interoperability, usability and access to data in situations such as business-to-business, business to consumer, machine generated and machine-to-machine data. It will encourage access to public data to help drive innovation”.
Actors within the nascent European data market need predictability and legal certainty on these emerging issues, not just ‘data ownership’ and the other items listed but also liability arising from the use of data, in order to enter the market and invest in new business models, which is especially vital for European SMEs. Clarity on such emerging issues is also important for all European businesses because they need predictability to assess their current expenditure on research and on product innovation.
Existing legal frameworks and current contractual practices may not be sufficient to provide actors in the data value chain with such predictability and legal certainty. Contractual practices may also create obstacles to the free and smooth flow of data or to data access as well as lock-in effects.
The European Free Flow of Data Initiative is an important step at EU level to allow businesses, citizens, researchers and consumers to take full advantage of data technologies and services, such as better access to cloud services and better data analytics. A free flow of data will support connectivity between sectors and industries, lowering costs, stimulating research and innovation and unleashing the potential of new economic models.
The session will consist of two presentations that provide insights on the above issues followed by a panel discussion with the presenters and three other panellists.
In the panel two presentations will focus on the findings of the following studies:
- SMART 2013/0063 Data Market Study especially in relation to the general development of the European Data Market as well as specific findings in relation to data “ownership”, data access
- 2015 Open Access National Points of Reference report on Open Access in the European Research Area.