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Moving towards a European data space: New EU law for data-sharing

The Data Governance Act takes the first steps towards a European data strategy

Last month, the European Council and the European Parliament adopted new rules for data sharing and reached a provisional agreement on the Data Governance Act (DGA).

The Data Governance Act is the first legislative initiative of the European data strategy, which aims to make the EU a leader in a data-driven society allowing data to flow freely within the EU and across sectors to benefit citizens, businesses, and public administrations.

The DGA is a new law that will:

  1. Promote reuse of public-sector data. This EU legislation will facilitate safe and wide data-sharing of certain categories of public-sector data, complementing the Open Data directive from 2019. For instance, trade secrets, personal data, and data protected by intellectual property rights. Protecting privacy and confidentially is crucial here, public sector bodies will need to be technically equipped to deal with these data securely. The Commission will also set up a searchable electronic register of public-sector data, accessible via national information points.
  2. Create a framework for data intermediation. Companies and individuals will benefit from this secure data-sharing environment in order to boost new business models. This can take the form of a digital platform for example, where voluntary, or mandatory (required by law) data-sharing takes place. This is beneficial for companies as it eliminates the fear of misuse of their data or loss of their competitive advantage. For individuals, the services will help them to have full control over their data and choose to share it only with a company they trust through personal information management tools such as personal data spaces or data wallets.
  3. Encourage data altruism for the common good. Organisations that collect data for a general interest, such as medical research, may apply to be listed in a national register of recognised data altruism organisations. This will encourage individuals to donate data to these organisations and will make it easier for organisations to use data for societal good.

According to Boštjan Koritnik, Slovenian Minister for Public Administration, President of the Slovenian Presidency of the Council,

“The Data Governance Act is a major milestone that will boost the data-driven economy in Europe in the years to come. By enabling control and creating trust, it will help unlock the potential of vast amounts of data generated by businesses and individuals. This is indispensable for the development of artificial intelligence applications and critical for the EU’s global competitiveness in this area. Data-powered innovations will help us address a range of societal challenges and drive economic growth, which is so important for the post-COVID recovery.”

The provisional agreement is currently to be approved by the European Council.

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