Digital SME’s proposals to unleash Data Economy taken up by the European Commission

As part of the EU Digital Single Market strategy, the European Commission adopted a Communication on “Building a European Data Economy” on 10 January 2017. The Commission’s initiative targets the future of the data economy, outlining the regulatory conditions regarding access to and transfer of data, data portability and liability of non-personal, machine-generated digital data.

The Commission highlights that non-personal machine-generated data need to be tradable to allow innovative business models to flourish, SMEs and start-ups to propose new ideas and have a fair chance to compete.

Oliver Grün, SME owner and president of the European Digital SME Alliance, commented the Commission initiative: “The Commission has recognised the same issues that we raised: the current legal framework is unclear as to who and how can use machine generated non-personal data. Data rights are stipulated in B2B contracts, where companies with less negotiating power are often excluded from the exploitation of data.

Earlier in 2016, the European DIGITAL SME Alliance published a position paper calling for clear rules that allow the creation of an open market for data usage, where both manufacturers and users of data-producing machines are entitled to use the data.

The Commission communication was accompanied by a Staff Working Document that provides a comprehensive analysis of the economic and legal iussues at stake.

Such document refers explicitely to the position paper of DIGITAL SME that elaborated how exclusive right to exploit the data should be avoided (page 32).