EU proposes data-centric single market to challenge US tech giants

EC wants European companies to have better access to the bloc’s vast quantities of data

The European Union wants to create a data-centric single market in order to challenge the dominance of US companies such as Google, Facebook, and Amazon.

In a proposal document drafted by the European Commission, the EU wants to make it easier for companies within its borders to have more scope to tap into the bloc’s large quantities fo industrial and professional data, Reuters has reported. 

While the collection and use of personal data are heavily regulated in the EU due to its General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the proposal document wants to provide free access for European tech companies to use more corporate and public data, such as environmental and geospatial, and statistical information.

With access to such information, the EC envisions “a single European data space, a genuine single market for data”.

“Competitors such as China and the US are already innovating quickly and projecting their concepts of data access and use across the globe,” the document said.

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“Currently a small number of big tech firms hold a large part of the world’s data. This is a major weakness for data-driven businesses to emerge, grow and innovate today, including in Europe, but huge opportunities lie ahead.”

To that end, the proposal outlines the need for new rules to cover cross-border data use, new industry standards in areas such as financial services, agriculture, healthcare, and manufacturing, and data interoperability in order to facilitate better data-sharing across the bloc’s nation-states.

Furthermore, the document proposes the removal of existing competition rules that hinder data sharing, while also introducing policies that prevent large online services and platforms from imposing conditions on data use and access which give them disproportionate benefits.

The overall goal is to keep the data market “open and fair”, effectively rallying against the power of data-centric tech giants that arguably have a stranglehold over the data market.

The proposal is due to be presented on 19 February, which leaves space for the document to be tweaked and amended.

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