BRUSSELS – Today, global tech trade association ITI welcomed the publication of the EU Data Governance Act (DGA), underscoring the European Commission’s goals of facilitating re-use and sharing of data under clear, EU-wide rules.
“The Data Governance Act is an important opportunity to boost innovation in Europe, bringing benefits to its citizens and society, and increasing legal certainty for companies,” said Guido Lobrano, ITI’s Vice President of Policy and Director General for Europe. “While we are still going through its details, we welcome the proposal’s focus on facilitating the reuse of certain public sector data, harmonization of consent to data altruism schemes and the vision of involving stakeholders in the important work of the newly established European Data Innovation Board. However, we think more clarity is needed around the proposed provisions regarding international data transfers, and the process to comply with third countries’ access requests, given their apparent complexity and application solely to non-personal data.”
ITI and its members strongly believe that preserving an enabling environment for data-driven innovation is essential to ensure Europe’s global competitiveness and security. To that end, ITI appreciates the DGA’s provisions to make public sector data more open and reusable. ITI also supports the proposal to create a mechanism to enhance the re-use of public-sector-held data, with a smart approach that is also geared towards ensuring compliance with intellectual property rights.
“Open government data is a tremendous source of economic growth that is as yet largely untapped,” said Lobrano. “We urge the EU to continue to facilitate the removal of barriers to widespread open data use, including those related to the quality, usability and compatibility of datasets.”
According to the global tech trade association, the DGA lays important foundations for the future development of voluntary, industry-led European data spaces governed by clear and transparent rules to help companies in Europe and globally seize the potential of large datasets. It is key that participation in these initiatives remains voluntary, non-discriminatory and not subject to discretionary conditions. To avoid disincentives to investments in data innovation, companies should in all instances remain in full control of their data and not lose any rights on them when participating in voluntary data-sharing agreements.
ITI highlights the DGA’s laudable initiatives, including the plan to facilitate data sharing through a general authorization framework for data altruism schemes and the harmonized consent form at EU level, and the creation of single data-sharing information point at Member State level, which is a positive development to facilitate re-use of data and improve the functioning of the European single market. The association also welcomes the proposed creation of the European Data Innovation Board and outlined opportunities for industry and other stakeholder to input to this group’s important work.
Finally, ITI encourages a more thorough discussion on the provisions affecting data sharing with third countries (Articles 5(9-11), 11(7)), and those relating to international access requests to non-personal data (Article 30), in order to ensure a workable framework that avoids unnecessarily complex procedures or creates legal uncertainty.