Yesterday, on November 25th, the European Commission has put forward a new proposal on data governance, encouraging data sharing across the EU and between industries. With this proposal, the Commission aims to create wealth for society, enhance trust between citizens and companies, and provide a viable alternative to tech giants' model for data handling.
Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice-President for A Europe Fit for the Digital Age, presents the incentive of the proposal nicely: “You don't have to share all data. But if you do and data is sensitive you should be able to do in a manner where data can be trusted and protected. We want to give business and citizens the tools to stay in control of data. And to build trust that data is handled in line with European values and fundamental rights.” These EU values and rights are, for instance, personal data protection (GDPR), consumer protection, and competition rules.
In this new model, the neutrality and transparency of data intermediaries - the facilitators of data sharing - are the main drivers behind the anticipated increase in trust. Strict requirements bar the intermediaries from selling data or developing it for their own commercial purposes, in order to ensure neutrality. In addition to increasing trust through neutrality safeguards, the regulation includes measures to enable reuse of public sector information, and means that give companies and individuals control of their generated data by making it safe and easy to voluntarily publicize their data for common good. In addition, regulation for nine data spaces has been proposed, ranging from industry to energy, and from health to the European Green Deal. Taking together this will pave the way for a data driven economy, in line with European values and principles.