- By 2030, the European Commission wants to establish "a single European data space" to build a stronger legal framework better suited for the digital age, according to a proposal.
- In exchange for adding data to a central hub, businesses will have access to other data, analytic results, services such as predictive maintenance and license fees, according to the plan. The effort is built on voluntary data sharing.
- By creating a "single market" of data, the Commission expects European businesses to have scalability with common privacy rules and enforcement across boundaries in the European Union. The EU must update its "technological sovereignty" — including infrastructure, data literacy and analytics, and machine learning — to handle such an adjustment.
The proposal is an expansion of the General Data Protection Regulation. But the plan lacks the legislative-backing of GDPR.
The EU is further ahead than the U.S. in data privacy. Last week, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-NY, introduced the Data Protection Act that would establish an independent federal watchdog for data.
Tech companies are particularly eager to influence data policy.
Before the California Consumer Protection Act made it to the governor's desk, the ballot initiative was financially opposed by Facebook, Google, Comcast, AT&T and Verizon. Even tech companies with less use for consumer data are involved in potential legislation. Microsoft has argued that the cloud, and other opportunities, rely on personal data.
But the European Commission, without explicitly naming companies, highlighted "imbalances in market power." The mass quantity of data of cloud providers and data infrastructure providers allows companies to "set the rules" and "unilaterally impose conditions for access" to data.
The Observatory on the Online Platform Economy is investigating how big tech leverages its "bargaining power" in data sharing. But Silicon Valley companies have exorbitant resources, capable of evolving as legislation does. Smaller entities don't fare as well. Small- to medium-sized businesses unable to comply with GDPR withdraw from the market.
Privacy experts foresee upcoming privacy legislation to promote business, according to Walter G. Copan, under secretary of commerce for standards and technology and director at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, while speaking at an event in Washington Wednesday. Customers could adopt reluctant behaviors.