The law should advance the EU-wide data space

The law should advance the EU-wide data space

The EU Member States and the EU Parliament have agreed on a new data governance law. It regulates the trade in data in the European Union. […]

With the Data Governance Act (DGA) as a legal basis, the EU wants to ensure that in the future data of various types can be shared on neutral marketplaces according to EU rules. For example, public sector data on health, agriculture or the environment will be made available to companies and private individuals.

A European data room in strategically important areas is the goal, according to a press release. It should also benefit the energy industry, transport planning, industry, the financial sector and public administration. The EU also hopes to be able to respond more effectively to global challenges such as climate change or pandemics.

It was only last year that the European Commission started to push the law forward. Currently, the formal approval of the Council of the Member States and the EU Parliament is missing, but both are only formalities, since an unofficial confirmation has already been received. The EU is responding with the law to the enormous progress that is currently being made with machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI). Companies and startups needed a regulated ecosystem to implement their business goals on the basis of structured and unstructured (training) data.

The law is intended to ensure that people and companies retain control over their data at all times, even if they voluntarily provide it. EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said it was about a trusting data exchange in line with the fundamental rights and values of the EU. Data should be able to be shared across states and disciplines, for this a secure basis is needed.

As the CSU MEP Angelika Niebler told Die Zeit, Europe needs data in the age of AI in order not to be left behind. It is about breaking up and tapping into the “well-filled data silos” that exist everywhere in the EU. For this purpose, data marketplaces are intended as neutral intermediaries. These platforms made it possible, for example, to trade sensor data for agriculture. However, they could not do business with the data of the marketplace participants themselves.

The digital association Bitkom praises the fast completion of the Data Governance Act consultations and sees good chances that sharing data in the EU will become easier. Susanne Dehmel, Member of the Bitkom Executive Board, emphasizes: “The Data Governance Act emphasizes the importance of public sector data and promotes its further use. This can provide urgently needed momentum for the European data economy.“

The association particularly welcomes the fact that data exchange services should be recognized as important players for the European digital economy. “They can not only increase the efficiency of sharing and trading with data, they also create the necessary trust,” says the Bitkom representative.

The Data Governance Act will create a balance between the use and protection of data, which could be an important step towards a data sovereign Europe. However, the association would like to ensure that the “sometimes strict rules of the Data Governance Act” for data exchange services do not have a negative impact on the newly emerging data rooms in Europe. It is gratifying that the Data Governance Act supports people in the EU in releasing their data for the benefit of the general public. “Last but not least, the corona pandemic has shown us how valuable and necessary data are for research and science,” says Dehmel.

*Heinrich Vaske is Editorial Director of COMPUTERWOCHE, CIO and CSO as well as editor-in-chief of IDG’s European B2B brands. He takes care of the content orientation of the media brands – on the web and in the print titles.

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