Towards a Holistic Regulatory Approach for the European Data Economy: Why the Illusive Notion of Non-Personal Data is Counterproductive to Data Innovation
18 Pages Posted: 28 Sep 2018
Date Written: September 27, 2018
The European Data Economy initiative is built on the belief that the current regulatory environment is not adequate in order to unleash the potential of such data-driven economy. The initiative focuses on so-called ‘non-personal data’ as a way to complement data protection rules that regulate the processing of personal data. The article illustrates that the notion of non-personal data as starting point for new data innovation policies is counterproductive for three fundamental reasons: (1) datasets are often mixed and the boundaries of personal data are too fluid to act as regulatory anchor; (2) two separate regimes applicable to opaque datasets might lead to strategic behavior of firms exploiting regulatory rivalry; (3) data has economic value irrespective of its legal classification, and there is no evidence that an elusive zone of non-personal data is more essential as innovation input. We argue that a holistic approach to ‘data’ as such, which a priori incorporates data protection considerations in its design is more likely to deliver successful innovation policy.
Keywords: innovation, intellectual property, data protection law, data portability, Digital Single Market
JEL Classification: K11, K20, L43, O34, O38
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