Public sector data sharing directive approved

public sector data sharing
© iStock/littlehenrabi

Negotiators from the European Council, Commission and Parliament have reached an agreement to facilitate public sector data sharing and availability.

The Directive on Open Data and Public Sector Information, which is fully compliant with the General Data Protection Regulation, provides updates on the framework for public sector data sharing; in particular the increasing amount of “high value” data becoming widely available. The directive covers the dissemination of public sector information such as anonymised household energy consumption; national or regional literacy and education levels; meteorological data; and traffic statistics.

Digital Single Market Vice-President Andrus Ansip said: “Data is increasingly the lifeblood of today’s economy and unlocking the potential of public open data can bring significant economic benefits. The total direct economic value of public sector information and data from public undertakings is expected to increase from €52 billion in 2018 to €194 billion by 2030. With these new rules in place, we will ensure that we can make the most of this growth.”

The directive forms an update to the 2003 EU Open Data Policy, which set out rules encouraging Member States to enable the sharing and reuse of data drawn from the public sector. As the policy is now 16 years old and the digital world has evolved significantly since it was implemented, the update was considered necessary.

Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, said: “Public sector information has already been paid for by the taxpayer. Making it more open for re-use benefits the European data economy by enabling new innovative products and services, for example based on artificial intelligence technologies. But beyond the economy, open data from the public sector is also important for our democracy and society because it increases transparency and supports a facts-based public debate.”

The European Parliament and Council now intend to formally adopt the Directive on Open Data and Public Sector Information; after which Member States will have two years to implement the new rules on public sector data sharing.

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