Europe wants to lead the way in a data-driven world. This goal is supported by the European Data Strategy, which aims to create a single European data market – one in which data can be shared seamlessly within and between countries and industries. The strategy is centred on a completely new approach to data sharing – data sovereignty – which is expected to have a significant impact on the way everyone shares data and does business… including you. This shift offers huge potential to those organisations that are well prepared. So, are you ready for the changes?
Europe is strongly focused on the protection of personal data and has taken the lead by introducing the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). This has had global impact, not only because non-European companies are required to comply with GDPR, but also because governments around the world have been inspired to develop similar legislation.
The EU is now clearly keen to take the next step to become a thriving people-centric data economy in which the benefits of data use are shared out fairly. The framework for that next step is created by the European Data Strategy, which shifts the focus from the protection of personal data to the use of data – addressing both misuse and missed opportunities for its use. Needless to say, it is important to prevent data from falling into the wrong hands, or from being used without the knowledge or consent of the people or organisations who generated it. Meanwhile, it would sometimes be beneficial if the data could be used elsewhere, but only if and when the right conditions and safeguards are put in place to protect it.
In order to create a single European data market, it is necessary to take a completely new approach to dealing with data. Therefore, the EU is committed to the development of so-called ‘Data Spaces’ in which citizens as well as public-sector and private-sector organisations have full control over their data, not only in a legal sense, but also functionally. This is called ‘data sovereignty’.
DATA SOVEREIGNTY WITHIN DECENTRALISED DATA ECOSYSTEMS (DATA SPACES)
Data Spaces are decentralised data ecosystems within a particular sector or domain. The ecosystems are made up of organisations that want to create new business, innovate or improve their services by exchanging data with each other. All members of the relevant Data Space conform to the same agreements about data sharing.
The agreements about data sharing guarantee that the people and organisations within each Data Space will have access to the necessary data in a reliable, safe, simple and controlled manner. They also have control over the data they generate. Moreover, they know who else has access to their data, and under what conditions they may process or use that data in other contexts.
At INNOPAY and Intel, we regard the agreements about access to data as ‘soft infrastructure’ – ‘soft’ because it is not visible or tangible, and ‘infrastructure’ because the agreements are the foundation on which different parties can share data with each other. Citizens, companies and organisations that comply with the agreements on data access – i.e. that make use of the soft infrastructure – can share data with one another effortlessly.
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