The European Commission (the Commission) recently issued a press release recognizing the potential of data collection and exploitation (or “big data”) and urging governments to embrace the positive aspects of big data.

The Commission summarized four main problems that have been identified in public consultations on big data:

  • Lack of cross-border coordination
  • Insufficient infrastructure and funding opportunities
  • A shortage of data experts and related skills
  • A fragmented and overly complex legal environment

To address these issues, the Commission proposed the following:

  • A public-private partnership to fund big data initiatives
  • An open big data incubator program
  • New rules on data ownership and liability for data provision
  • Mapping of data standards
  • A series of educational programs to increase the number of skilled data workers
  • A network of data processing facilities in different member states

The Commission stated that, in order to help EU citizens and businesses more quickly reap the full potential of data, it will work with the European Parliament and the European Council to successfully complete the reform of the EU’s data protection rules. The Commission will also work toward the final adoption of the directive on network and information security to ensure the high level of trust that is fundamental for a thriving data-driven economy.