FILE PHOTO: European Union flags flutter outside the European Commission headquarters in Brussels
FILE PHOTO: European Union flags flutter outside the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium August 21, 2020. REUTERS/Yves Herman

November 25, 2020

By Marine Strauss

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – In an effort to avoid EU firms and citizens relying on data from Asian and U.S rivals, the European Commission is proposing new rules to allow sharing of public and personal data with businesses and research organisations.

The European Union executive hopes that this could lead to improvements ranging from personalised health treatments, to better tackling climate change or developing precision farming techniques.

“Data should be accessible and the sharing of such data should be secure,” European Commission Vice-President Margrethe Vestager told a news briefing on Wednesday.

The Commission proposed a new model based on the neutrality and transparency of so-called “data intermediaries,” which would organise data sharing or pooling, to increase trust.

“For data to circulate, we need (people) to have confidence,” EU industry chief Thierry Breton said.

This follows a broader data strategy by the Commission in February to create a single European data market, hoping that pooling industrial expertise will help build technology firms to rival Silicon Valley and state-backed Chinese heavyweights.

Having lagged the first wave of digital innovation, particularly in consumer markets such as social media, online shopping and smartphones, the EU sees itself in a battle for industrial data and its potential.

However, EU bodies will be subject to strict requirements such as not being able to sell the data to another company or to use it to develop their own product based.

The EU said the new measures could increase the annual economic value of data sharing from 7 billion euros ($8.33 billion) up to 11 billion euros by 2028.

($1 = 0.8407 euros)

(Reporting by Marine Strauss @StraussMarine, Editing by Robin Emmott and Alexander Smith)

Public Affairs

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