EU Unveils Roadmap for Single Digital Market for Data and AI

The European Commission published new white papers on its goals of creating a single market for personal and non-personal data and promoting the development of artificial intelligence in Europe.

This week, the European Commission published white papers detailing its strategies regarding the use of data and artificial intelligence ("AI"). Several additional reports accompany the white papers and cover topics such as safety and liability and high-level policy goals. The European Commission's stated goals for the various policy recommendations are to help European companies exploit industrial and commercial data, position Europe as a leader in the data economy, and set global standards.

European Data Strategy

The aim of the strategy is to create a genuine single market for personal and non-personal data that are secure and easily accessible to businesses and the public sector to create and innovate. The report proposes legislative measures based on the following concepts:

  • Establishing a governance framework for data access and use.
  • Empowering individuals to exercise their rights over the data they generate.
  • Investing in SMEs to ensure better access to data.
  • Strengthening Europe's infrastructures for hosting and processing data and for interoperability.
  • Developing common European data spaces in strategic sectors such as industrial, mobility, energy, agriculture, and health.

The Commission seeks feedback on its data strategy until May 31, 2020.

White Paper on AI 

The white paper on AI sets forth the European Commission's proposals to promote the development of AI in Europe, while addressing potential risks to human rights. The white paper identifies options to maximize the benefits and address the challenges of AI, which are likely to lead to new legislation.

The paper is subject to a consultation until May 19, 2020.

Next Steps and Impact for Companies

Later this year, the European Commission will announce additional measures, such as a Digital Services Act, which will establish rules for all businesses to access the Single Market, strengthen the responsibility of online platforms, and protect fundamental rights. Further, the European Union will continue to emphasize cybersecurity by promoting cooperation through a Joint Cyber Unit that protects critical European infrastructure and strengthens the cybersecurity single market.

All companies active in AI and big data should consider taking part in the consultation to stir the debate around the legislative framework for trustworthy AI. Digital companies may be included in a competition law sector enquiry that will start this year. A raft of legislative proposals and regulations may already be anticipated, such as ex-ante regulation for digital gatekeepers to facilitate market entry and fair competition, data governance, data act, the launch of a cloud services marketplace, a (self-)regulatory cloud rulebook, a revision of the digital identities regulation, and a regulation for regulating foreign subsidies.

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