gobernanza de datos

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We have talked about all aspects of the General Data Protection Regulation and its ambitious rules on information about individuals who have been or may be identified. Indeed, it lives alongside another kind of data that can also play a key role in the development of our economic, industrial or even societal models.

At a time when we are beginning to realize the opportunities offered by technologies such as 5G, artificial intelligence or big data, data that do not identify individuals (either referring to companies or anonymized) offer some opportunities that will certainly determine the future direction of our economy and society. These may take the form of databases that can collect and update a list of illnesses treated in public hospitals in a country or a continent, or the density of users in different public infrastructure spaces. Those are two clear examples of tools that, when fed with non-personal data, could be revolutionary in public and private digital management.

The European Commission has had its ear to the ground, and recently published a Proposal for a Regulation on European data governance as part of its 2020 European strategy for data. This legislative instrument is an attempt to offer a regulatory framework to secure a single market for data. Unlike the exploitation of personal data (for which many large private operators have mostly consolidated data collection and processing), the Commission is trying to create a neutral space for data flows, with a model that does not depend on dominant businesses in given markets, but is an open system of access and use of databases.  

The European Commission proposes a model that is radically different from the current data exploitation system. Unlike a system essentially controlled by private operators, EU authorities aspire to a system dominated by the free movement of non-personal data. It proposes the following measures:

  • Defining a system to re-use personal data collected by public authorities, to reach a balance between the movement of that information and safeguarding the corresponding legal obligations (including confidentiality, intellectual property and personal data protection).
  • Establishing the figure of data intermediaries, which are entities that guarantee the neutrality and independence of the digital markets in which the data will be used. Rather than being based on a model that pivots around private operators with an interest in the economic activities that the data concern, it proposes establishing a system in which the gatekeepers to that information are entities that ensure full access and data mobility.
  • Encouraging “data altruism”, creating mechanisms to make data available for free, for the common good. Those mechanisms would create organizations with a public interest vocation to act as data cooperatives
  • Respecting preexisting regulations, particularly, the General Data Protection Regulation, for information that includes any personal data.

The proposed regulation will eventually be joined by two additional proposals that will consolidate the strategic policy on the data economy. One of these will be the Digital Services Act package, and both will transform and update the regulatory framework that was initially designed 20 years ago by Directive 2000/31 on electronic commerce.

Author: Albert Agustinoy

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