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EU ministers told to do their homework before their next meeting in Brussels

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February 18, 2015

Europe’s Industry and Internal Market Ministers have been told to do their homework regarding Big Data before showing up to their next meeting in Brussels on March 2nd.

The theme of the next Competitiveness council meeting is “Unlocking Europe's digital potential: faster and wider innovation through open, networked and data-intensive research”.

The presidency of the council has asked various ministers to consider what their main priorities are for data-driven innovation in research.

It also asks if Big Data challenges are sufficiently addressed at the national level and how coordination at the EU level could be improved.

Although the meeting preparation document mentions stumbling blocks - for example, the lack of cloud computing standards and interoperability, a need for investment in mobile broadband and a dearth of sufficient skills and competences in data management and analytics - the main barrier to Big Data usage seems to be citizens’ reluctance to simply hand it over.

To address these “supply-side challenges” the document suggests “improving transparency, access and empowerment of individuals, promoting responsible usage of personal data by organizations and the utilization of various technologies in the service of privacy protection” might go some way towards allaying privacy fears.

It also references a July 2014 communication from the European Commission that recommends “updated rules in the fields of copyright, security, data ownership as well as trust and privacy” as the backbone of “viable and long-lasting expansion of the data economy in Europe”.

All this is clearly feeding into the Commission’s plans to announce a new Digital Single Market Strategy alongside copyright reform and the Data Protection Regulation, which is already under discussion in various EU circles.

Source: The EU Economic Council.

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