Data in the Digital Single Market: the next stage

Source: A. (Andrus) Ansip i, published on Wednesday, September 13 2017.

President Juncker has just given his annual State of the Union speech, where he stressed - among important issues like migration and trade - the importance of cybersecurity in the Digital Single Market (DSM).

You can read the speech here. In a separate letter, he announced a package to unlock the potential of the data economy by ensuring the free flow of non-personal data within Europe.

Today, the Commission sets out a series of measures in both these vital areas - to stimulate better and fuller use of data, while making sure that it remains secure and protected.

Both areas are critical for our economic growth and digital future.

Both are embedded in the source code of the DSM. The real value of today's data economy will only come out if it can be used to the full, across the EU single market, adequately protected and secured.

For that to happen, we need to remove the artificial barbed-wire barriers from our digital borders that force data to be stored unnecessarily within national territory or data centres - unless there is a good reason, like national security. Our proposal focuses on the free flow of non-personal data - such as company registration information, industrial machine-to-machine data, farming and weather data.

This proposal complements the EU's strong personal data protection rules. Taken together, they will allow the free movement of all types of data in the single market and it will unlock opportunities for the EU data economy - for people, businesses and innovation.

On cybersecurity, the threat landscape has changed beyond recognition in the last few years, with potentially huge impacts on our economy, our fundamental rights and our safety and security. Nobody can address major cyber threats alone.

Europe needs to adapt fast and prepare, give itself the necessary technical, legal and operational means. Only then will we - Member States and industry, private individuals and EU institutions - be able to prevent and respond to any large-scale cyber threat in a coordinated way.

To strengthen our resilience, deterrence and defence, we want to:

  • reinforce the role of ENISA, the EU agency for network information and security, to support and help coordinate Member States' work;
  • set up EU-wide cybersecurity certification of products and services to ensure high security standards and raise user confidence for instance in IoT devices ;
  • promote cyber-hygiene: everybody's daily cyber-awareness helps minimise incidents caused by human error.
  • create a network of excellence centres and a European Cybersecurity Research and Competence Centre to support innovation in Europe.

The Digital Summit to be held in Tallinn on 29 September provides an opportunity for Europe to show common determination when dealing with this threat. I call on each EU country to affirm how they intend to strengthen our common cybersecurity.

I spoke recently in conference speeches on these two subjects - on the free flow of data in July and on cybersecurity just last week.

I look forward to presenting our proposals in more detail on September 19 with Commissioners Gabriel (@GabrielMariya) and King (@JKingEU).

Watch my Twitter account @Ansip_EU for updates.

Another blog soon.