The role of data in governing society
Three years ago, a group of scientists from the JRC‘s Centre for Advanced Studies embarked on a journey to study the challenges and opportunities that digital transformation is posing for the governance of society. The exploratory research project ‘Digitranscope’ (hyperlink) looked into the potential challenges 5 to 10 years ahead.
With the rise of Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things, the team became aware of the strategic importance of data. The scientists therefore focused on the governance of data as a key aspect to understanding and shaping the governance of society.
A new European approach to data sharing
The research findings provide valuable input to ongoing EU policy developments on data sharing and technological and data sovereignty. The Commission has already taken a number of initiatives to create a more equitable data economy. Delivering on its announcement in the EU data strategy, the Commission proposed new rules on data governance in November 2020.
The proposed Regulation aims to facilitate data sharing across the EU, increase control and trust of both citizens and companies regarding their data, and offer an alternative European model to the data-handling practices of major tech platforms. The proposal creates the basis for a new European way of data governance that is in line with EU values and principles, such as personal data protection (GDPR), consumer protection and competition rules. This new approach proposes a model based on the neutrality and transparency of data intermediaries, which are organisers of data sharing or pooling, to increase trust.
Several other key Commission initiatives address the topics identified in the Digitranscope report: the Digital Services Act (on responsibilities and accountability of platforms and protecting consumers online) and the Digital Markets Act (on ensuring fair and open digital markets) were adopted by the Commission in December 2020. The Data Act (to create a fair data economy including for business-to-business and business-to-government data sharing) is announced for 2021.
Yesterday, the Commission presented a Communication on Europe’s digital transformation with clear targets for 2030, proposing to develop a robust governance framework to monitor progress together with the Member States. These targets revolve around four key areas: digital skills; digital infrastructures; digital transformation of businesses; and digitalisation of public services.
- Full report
- Key findings
- Joint Research Centre news article - Getting a grip on that data: Why the EU must lead on data governance
- Digitranscope website
<p>The take-away message from Digitranscope is that the governance of our digitally-transforming</p>
<p>society is challenging and complex, full of opportunities and pitfalls, but that ultimately it is up to</p>
<p>all of us to shape it, we cannot afford to leave it to others.</p>