Data is the focal point of the EUs digital strategy programme
The new strategy dubbed “Shaping Europe’s digital future” is the EUs plan to shape the EU market with digital transformation. This new strategy builds upon the previous Commissions achievements in delivering its digital single market objectives.
Data has been put as a prime focus with the Commission believing that data is the “lifeblood of economic development” and can/should be used to address challenges facing society and for driving economic growth.
The Commissions first step is to bring forward proposals for an ‘enabling legislative framework for the governance of common European data spaces’ later this year. This legislation will establish nine distinct ‘common European data spaces’ in areas such as manufacturing, mobility, energy, finance and health, where it has envisaged that businesses will be able to access large data sets, as well as technical tools and infrastructure to use and exchange information.
The Commission also hinted towards a new Data act, which has the potential to be brought forward in 2021, which could result in a mandate for business to business sharing in some circumstances. This act also has the potential to change existing property rights frameworks including laws on database rights and on the law of trade secrets.
One of the major data strategy proposals is centred around cloud computing. With the commission stating it wants to create a single ‘cloud rulebook’ by the middle of 2022, which will include codes regarding data protection, portability, quality of service and energy efficiency. There are also further plans for the creation of an EU cloud services marketplace by the end of 2022. This will put users (particulary SMEs and the public sector) in the position to be able to choose cloud processing software and platform service offerings that comply with a number of areas like data protection, security etc.
Regulation of AI
As industries across the board increasingly utilise AI into their services to streamline their processes and improve customer services. The EU has begun to set its sights on AI, with the Commission recently publishing papers indicating their will be further regulations and legislation to account for the use of AI.
The papers stated that existing legislation in areas such as liability, product and safety could be improved.
The Commission seeks to create a bespoke system of rules established for ‘high-risk’ AI, accompanied with criteria that make the distinction between AI that is ‘high-risk’ and those which are not. With criteria looking at the sector in use and what the AI is used for. This is to prevent divergent national rules from emerging, that are likely to create obstacles for companies that want to sell and operate AI systems in the single market.
Regulatory requirements will not just be used during AI operation but there also plans to be a ‘ prior conformity assessment’ framework, which would verify and ensure that regulatory obligations are met before the technology is put in use. This procedure would include checks for testing, inspection and certification. The type of data used will also be investigated including the type used to train AI systems, data and record keeping obligations.
The frameworks will be established to who is (are) best placed to address any potential risks, so this applies both to those developing the AI systems and those deploying the technology.
As well as prior conformity assessments the regulations will also allow for post-market monitoring and enforcement by national regulators.
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