Free Flow of Data

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:

  1. 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
  2. 2015 Open Access National Points of Reference report on Open Access in the European Research Area.

Detailed Workshop Outline

16:30 – 16:35 Introduction

  • Moderator Hans Graux (time.lex, CCBE, one of legal experts in the Data Market Study)

16:35 – 17:35 Presentations

17:35 – 18:00  Discussion/Questions

Session Speakers

Hans Graux
Hans Grauxtime.lex - ICT Lawyer
Hans Graux is an IT lawyer at the Brussels based law firm time.lex (, which specialises in information and technology law.
Hans graduated in Law in 2002, and obtained a complementary degree in IT in 2003. He worked as a research assistant at the Catholic University of Louvain, before becoming a lawyer at the bar of Brussels in 2005. In July 2007, he co-founded the IT law firm time.lex.
He has participated in a large number of international ICT policy studies, primarily for the European Commission and various European Agencies. Recent work for the Commission has included projects focused on data protection, eSignatures, electronic identity management, cloud computing and information security. Furthermore, he is a member of the ICT Committee of the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE), and Member of the ICT Committee of the Order of Flemish Bars.
Gabriella Cattaneo
Gabriella CattaneoAssociate Vice President IDC European Government Consulting
Gabriella Cattaneo is Associate Vice President of the IDC European Government Consulting unit, which she founded in 2005 to provide research and consulting services to governments and policy makers on ICT market trends and scenarios, leveraging IDC’s global research. Cattaneo has more than 20 years experience in socio-economic research, impact assessment and benchmarking of ICT policies. She has contributed to the design and implementation of European Commission benchmarking indicators on e-government, e-skills, cloud computing, and currently on ICT professionalism and e-leadership skills. She is currently coordinating a study on the European Data Market for DG CONNECT aiming at monitoring and measuring the data-driven market and economy in the EU, including an analysis of data skills. Cattaneo is a graduate in Political Sciences Magna cum Laude from Milan State University with a prize-winner research Thesis and worked ten years as a business journalist before becoming an ICT industry analyst.
Arthur van der Wees
Arthur van der WeesArthur's Legal, Managing Director
Arthur van der Wees is managing director of international law firm Arthur’s Legal, with its headquarters in Amsterdam, founded in 2001 (

He is senior lawyer, technologist, enterpreneur, standardisation expert, investor and frequent speaker worldwide, who has indepth experience and is well-connected in the world of technology, data & global business.

Arthur’s Legal is Co-Chair of EC’s Alliance IoT Innovation (AIOTI) WG4 (Policy), Project Leader of AIOTI WG3 Privacy-by-Design working group, co-author of the EC Cloud SLA Standardisation Guidelines, Cloud Security Alliance’s Privacy Level Agreement 2.0, co-contributor to ISO standards such as ISO/IEC 19086. He is co-founder of CloudQuadrants on the maturity of cloud offerings, the Cyberchess Institute that landscapes the cybersecurity arena, and the Institute for Next Generation Compliance that promotes the restructuring and automation of compliance and related procurement.

One of his other ventures is Zapplied Platform, based in Amsterdam and New York, which combines cloud technology & artificial intelligence with document & deal automation and social collaboration.

Doris Wedlich
Doris WedlichKIT Karlsruhe Institute for Technology
Trained as molecular biologist, in 2012 Doris Wedlich became head of the division I “Biology, Chemistry and Chemical Engineering” at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) responsible for research programs that depend on optimal and efficient large-scale data analysis and management. As KIT is part of the Helmholtz Association providing high-tech infrastructures to scientists worldwide open access to research outputs and data security are key issues of the Helmholtz mission Doris Wedlich stands for.