Next step on the way to the United Digital Market
The question of the usage and sharing of data has been on the agenda in the European Union for a long time. When GDPR came into force an act with direct effect in the European Union was introduced, which unifies the personal data protection regime. However, this regime is probably a cornerstone on which the economy of the 21st century develops as it is based on the exploitation of data as an extremely valuable resource. The European Commission is now turning its attention to taking a unified approach towards data management, which includes personal data but is not limited to them.
On 25.11.2020, the European Commission issued a proposal for a Data Governance Regulation ( European Data Governance Act ). The act is the first of several measures announced in the European Data Strategy 2020. The regulation aims to increase the availability of usable data by increasing the trust in intermediaries and strengthening mechanisms for data sharing within the European Union.
The Regulation complements Directive (EU) 2019/1024 ( Open Data Directive), but it concerns data that are subject to the rights of third parties that are outside the coverage of the Directive. It is also compatible with the GDPR regime.
More specifically, the regulation aims to address the following issues:
- The overusability of data in the public sector in situations in which that data are subject to third-party`s rights. These data are defined as data that may be subject to data protection regulations, intellectual property, or containing trade secrets or other sensitive about commercial purposes information.
- The sharing of data between businesses the following remuneration in any form.
- The ability to use personal data using a “personal data sharing agent”.
- The possibility of the data being used in the public interest. The aim is to give subjects the opportunity to share their data with special organizations introduced by the Regulation, which are registered in a special register and operate for non-profit purposes. For example, a person with a rare disease decides to provide his/her data in order to contribute to a medical study.
The regulation introduces a broad definition of data which extends the coverage of the concept of personal data under the GDPR. “Data” under the Regulation means any digital representation of an act, facts, or information, as well as any compilation of such type of acts, facts, or information, including in the form of a sound, visual or audiovisual recording.
Wide re-use of data is guaranteed by providing regulations that do not allow the conclusion of agreements that create or aim to create an exclusive right to re-use data except in specific cases when this is necessary and justified due to the delivery of a service in the public interest.
The figure of a data broker is entered – providers of data sharing services who will collect and organize data in a neutral way. This activity will be made both by specialized companies and by companies that have also another activity. In the second case, the intermediary activity must be strictly separated from other services involving data sharing.
A European Data Innovation Board is being created to facilitate the transfer of data between Member States’ authorities and the sharing of good practices.
It is planned the construction of data spaces consisting of secure technological infrastructure and governance mechanisms, aiming to allow the exchange of data between business and government in a secure way and at low costs. The Commission will support the establishment and development of data spaces in 9 strategic areas: health, environment, energy, agriculture, mobility, finances, manufacturing, public administration, and skills.
Although it was expected that the legal framework would not be limited to the protection of personal data, the introduction of such a comprehensive data regime cannot but arose both enthusiasm and concerns. From the introduction of data broker figures and non-profit organizations processing data in the public interest to the ambitious data space projects, it remains to be seen how many of these proposals will pass through the European Parliament and The Council. All in all, there are undoubtedly interesting times ahead, in which data will increasingly take over the stage in international economics and they would be an inseparable part even in the public debate.
 Art. 2, p. 1