Free Flow of Data crucial for the Data Economy

NEWS Published

COMMENTS Do not burden the digital development in the EU with a complicated framework that is too complex for companies to understand, let alone comply with. The digitisation of society and business will bring us great opportunities if the policies governing the data economy can develop strategically with an eye to the future.

Carolina Brånby

Comments on the European Commission’s communication ”BUILDING A EUROPEAN DATA ECONOMY”

Sweden is in the midst of a transformation to a fully digitised society in which the potential for innovation is great and an adequate safeguards for integrity is important.

This leads to crucial questions about how Sweden and Europe can develop a political environment which fosters data-driven growth and benefits the interests of the individual, businesses and society at large in a sustainable and balanced way.

Digitisation (and particularly data-driven growth) is underlined as the future growth engine for Europe in the EU Commission’s strategy for the Digital Single Market (COM/2015/0192 final). A strong emphasis is put on the importance of removing obstacles for the European data economy in order to stimulate innovation and investments in the single market, and to create business opportunities for European companies. But the development of new technology also enables better protection of personal data. The public debate often presents these two ambitions- innovation and data protection as contradictory, which is not the case. To improve the public understanding of our future and to enhance people’s comfort level with digitization, raising awareness about technology is more important than ever.

Currently much of the development of European data policy is driven by the data protection authorities, DG Justice and national ministries of justice, which tend to have a strong focus on privacy and integrity. In order to foster efficiency and innovative digitalization of society, an export- and technology-dependent country like Sweden would benefit from a more business-oriented policy perspective in the shaping of rules related to the data economy.

A far reaching privacy framework inhibits the development of important public services, particularly in the healthcare sector. We need to question the current structure and find our way back to a functioning balance between safeguarded integrity and the exchange of information. To achieve this we ask for better regulation, simpler rules which do not overlap and do not promote fragmentation. An example is the proposed regulation of ePrivacy

(COM(2017) 10 final), which stipulates a need for prior consent for cookies and any kind of online tracking techniques. Similar rules are already specified in the new General Data Protection Regulation. Adding another layer of rules on data protection means adding to the already heavy burden that companies have to comply with.

Data flows and forced localisation

Data flows are an integral part of our global value chains, and a data-driven economy based on innovation is one of the keys to creating competitive European businesses. Allowing data to more freely across borders, without rules on forced localisation is therefore absolutely crucial. Companies simply cannot do cross-border business if they cannot move their data across the borders; this applies to companies of all sizes and from all sectors. With this in mind, we would welcome a legislative initiative to prevent national rules on forced localisation. Any restrictions on where data should be stored should only be possible within the realm of different levels of national security and concerning the access of national authorities. Such exemptions from a ban on forced localisation must be well justified and proportional.

Portability and standards

The requirements on data portability in the General Data Protection Regulation are difficult to deal with for companies. Technically it requires that different companies apply the same data format in order for it to be portable. Rebuilding IT-solutions entails high costs and currently there are no guidelines for how companies are to handle this technically. Imposing similar demands on machine-generated data would mean enforcing a regimentation of technical solutions and IT-systems that would hardly benefit innovation and competitiveness in Europe.  However, the development of IoT requires a certain level of interoperability. The best way to achieve it is through sector agreements and industry driven standards developed by businesses with extensive knowledge of how technology, contractual arrangements and business models work.

Data ownership                  

It is important to distinguish between personal data and machine data. The industry at large agree that it is too early in the development of data analytics to legislate the use of machine-data and the technological progress is moving fast.

From an investment perspective it is crucial that businesses can use and protect their own (machine-generated) data as they see fit, to develop new products, find innovative solutions and get a return on investments made. Personal information is to be protected in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation, which specifies rules applicable to the processing of personal data and thereby the companies’ ability to create services and identify the demand for new products. It is vital that the legislation contributes to protect investments, intellectual property rights and trade secrets.

An important principle is that the European Commission should not propose rules for a market which is still being developed, unless there is a proven market failure. The Staff Working document (SWD(2017) 2 final) accompanying  the Commission’s communication on a European Data Economy explicitly explains the difficulty of trying to map the available contractual solutions for the use and reuse of data.

It is further worrying that the Commission’s own European Political Strategy Center, proposes that “public intervention is (also) needed to govern non-personal data”, see ‘Enter the Data Economy’, 2017-01-11.

Generally, both contractual freedom and the freedom of trade should be better respected in the European Union in order to foster a good business climate where the data economy and the technological development create competitiveness that produces a prosperous society for all its citizens.

Finally, do not burden the digital development in the EU with a complicated framework that is too complex for companies to understand, let alone comply with. The digitisation of society and business will bring us great opportunities if the policies governing the data economy can develop strategically with an eye to the future.

Carolina Brånby

News

NEWS Published:

EU-proposal detrimental to the Swedish labour market model

EU The European Commission is preparing a proposal which will provide a reference framework for the establishment of a decent minimum wage at European level. Sweden is firmly opposed. Johan Danielsson (S) one of the Swedish members of the European Parliament who is monitoring this issue carefully.
NEWS Published:

Shared Nordic view of proposed European Climate Law

EU A key part of the Green Deal is the European Climate Law. At a webinar on 30 June, the four major Nordic organisations for private sector employers presented a new joint position paper: The Climate Law post Covid-19 – the role of industry and business in reaching the objectives of climate action and economic recovery.
NEWS Published:

GDPR: More support for companies but no legislative changes

COMMENT Every four years, the European Commission evaluates the Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The first report states that Europe needs the acquis to be applied uniformly. This will help smaller companies and facilitate international data exchange.
NEWS Published:

"The legislative proposal sets out what pace the EU should adopt in its climate work"

EU In March, the European Commission published its proposal for a new European climate law. Therefore we asked the Swedish MEP Jytte Guteland (S, S&D) some questions.
NEWS Published:

"Other countries can not take advantage of our ambitious climate work"

EU In March, the European Commission published its proposal for a new European climate law. Therefore we asked the Swedish MEP Jessica Polfjärd (M, EPP) some questions.
NEWS Published:

Swedish Enterprise is contributing to EU:s data strategy

COMMENT Work is currently underway on the EU's data strategy, looking at how best to utilise data within the internal market. Swedish Enterprise is contributing to this work, among other things, by highlighting the needs and desires of the business sector, and has recently responded to a consultation on the EU Commission's ongoing work, writes Carola Ekblad, Digital policy.
NEWS Published:

An ambitious circular economy action plan from the European Commission

COMMENT In recent years, the European Commission has focused heavily on the circular economy in achieving climate neutrality by 2050. The Swedish business community wants to take a driving role in development and to contribute constructively to the work, writes Jenny Svärd.
NEWS Published:

"The Green Deal steer the economy towards a sustainable society"

EU The Swedish MEP Fredrik Federley gives his view on the recovery programme proposed by the European Commission.
NEWS Published:

A recovery plan for Europe after COVID-19

EU If companies are to be able to emerge from the crisis and continue to grow, we need to see an ambitious and coordinated recovery plan for the EU as early as possible, write Anna Stellinger, Deputy Director General, and Anders Edholm, Head of EU-office.
NEWS Published:

Necessary actions to mitigate the Corona crisis

TRADE Swedish Enterprise has sent a position paper to EU-commissioners, Members of the European parliament and several others in order to bring the attention to the list of proposals you can find below.
NEWS Published:

EU state aid regulations can save companies and jobs

COMMENT To help Member States preserve companies and jobs during the current coronavirus crisis, the European Commission has rapidly relaxed EU state aid regulations. At the same time, it is important to safeguard equal conditions for both competition and free enterprise, writes competition and state aid expert Stefan Sagebro.
NEWS Published:

Coronavirus crisis: Seven trade actions that need to be taken now

COMMENT The coronavirus outbreak is placing unprecedented pressure on the EU and international trade. The goal should be to lay the foundations for the best possible conditions post-Corona that keeps as many companies – and jobs – viable. We have no time to wait, writes Anna Stellinger, Deputy Director General Confederation of Swedish Enterprise
NEWS Published:

Information on coronavirus / COVID-19 for you as a business owner

CORONA (UPDATED REGULARLY) Due to the recent developments in the spread of the coronavirus, we have summarised the sources where you, as a business owner/operator entrepreneur, can find the latest information.
NEWS Published:

In times of crisis, barriers are not the answer

COMMENT EU must now take powerful measures in the field of trade policy. A constructive measure would be to completely remove import duties on necessary medical equipment, hand soap and disinfectants, imported from third countries, writes Anna Stellinger, Deputy Director General International and EU Affairs.
NEWS Published:

EU industrial strategy: "Now the real work will begin"

COMMENT The European Commission has presented an industrial strategy. This will lay out the course for the coming five years. The strategy presented today is simply the starting point. Now the real work will begin, says Göran Grén, Director Head of Business Policy and Law Division at the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise.
NEWS Published:

"Most important a trade agreement with the UK"

FREE TRADE How should the EU relate to major powers such as the US and China? How does the EU best approach the defence of free trade and an open and a favourable investment climate? To find what our Swedish MEPs in the Trade Committee think, we asked Jörgen Warborn (M, EPP) a few questions.
NEWS Published:

"The US and China are blending trade policy with geopolitical goals"

FREE TRADE How should the EU relate to major powers such as the US and China? How does the EU best approach the defence of free trade and an open and a favourable investment climate? To find what our Swedish MEPs in the Trade Committee think, we asked Karin Karlsbro, L, Renew Europe.
NEWS Published:

This is how to shape Europe's digital future

COMMENT The European Commission is launching its strategy for Europe's digital future. “The debate on the surveillance society, the mapping of citizens and the profiling of consumers is an important consideration as we move into this future, writes lawyer Carolina Brånby.
NEWS Published:

A Competitive European Industry

EU The European Commission will present its industrial strategy on 10 March. In response to this, Swedish Enterprise has produced the position paper, "A Competitive European Industry". This summarises the organisation's views on a range of issues.
NEWS Published:

11 exciting climate projects from Sweden

Swedish companies have long been at the forefront of combining sustainability and environmental ambitions with growth and innovation. From fossil-free steel to CO2 capture, Sweden’s businesses are leveraging tomorrow's technology for a greener world. As innovation and climate-smart solutions become an increasingly important element in our competitiveness, we have listed 11 ground-breaking climate projects currently underway in Sweden’s business world.