The EU Data Strategy set out to make Europe an agile data economy and to enable society to make better decisions both in private and public sector. Creating new guidelines for the European data economy is a welcome development which can create the foundation for economic growth and increased well-being of the European citizens. Being able to utilise data more flexibly will empower the individuals and improves the competitiveness of European companies as well the quality of public services. The EU Data Strategy shows that data is the nervous system of an organisation as it enables new businesses and solutions and informs both strategic planning and tactical operations.
One of the fundamental principles in maximising the value of the data is to share it with other stakeholders adhering to respective legislation and governance settings. The strategy is, however, quite vague on the extent of the data access and is thus somewhat difficult to comment fairly. Despite aiming to create an open data market, the strategy simultaneously recognises that there may well be instances where data needs to be kept private — “as open as possible, as closed as necessary”. Open systems bear multiple benefits as they encourage more balanced development of the markets and provide more choices for the users. Indeed, the EU should also be a strong voice for protecting customer rights, only require necessary data from the users and endorse the principle empowering users to be informed and decide on the use of their data, in accordance to GDPR. The upcoming framework for data access and use should put the individual in focus and make ethical data sharing and the My Data principles the norm.
Eventually, the success of the implementation of the Data Strategy depends on how well the interest of data providers and data users can be aligned and in that regards there is still a need for creation of new incentive models and schemes to create a dynamic and fair data economy. This is especially true in the mobility and transport sector and will require relentless and coordinated efforts from the European Union as well from the individual public and private actors in the forthcoming years.