In January 2017 the Commission adopted the 'Building a European Data Economy' Communciation where it addressed, among other issues, the opportunities and challenges related to access and re-use of data. It announced a structured dialogue with stakeholders, which included a public consultation (closed on 26 April) and a series of workshops.
The Mid Term Review of the Digital Single Market Strategy mandated to follow up on the January Communication and explore further the issue of public bodies' access to privately held data of public interest. In a number of scenarios, public sector bodies could significantly improve their decision making if they were able to use commercially-held information, notably for the purpose of public health policy, spatial and urban planning, natural and technological risk management, managing energy supply grids or protecting the environment.
The European Commission organised this workshop in Brussels on 26 June with stakeholders on "Access for public bodies to privately-held data". The objective of the workshop is to discuss with stakeholders from both the demand side (public sector bodies) and supply side (data-holding companies) the needs for access to privately-held data and the conditions under which such access could possibly be granted. This workshop should focus on access for public bodies to privately-held data that do not result from existing reporting obligations companies have vis-à-vis public sector bodies or data that are already stored in public sector's databases.
There were four specific sessions on the agenda to discuss access to data of public interest:
- How the public sector can do great things with data:
- Building a data economy: access for public bodies to privately held data, presentation by Nuria Oliver, Data Pop Alliance and Vodafone.
- Access to data: some examples from transport, presentation by Isabelle Vandoorne, DG MOVE.
- Data access for official statistics:
- Use case from The Netherlands, presentation by Barteld Braaksma, Statistics Netherlands.
- Use case from Denmark "a local and a global view", presentation by Niels Ploug, Statistics Denmark.
- Use case from France, presentation by Michel Isnard, INSEE.
- Use case from Spain, presentation by David Salgado, INE - Spanish National Statistics Institute.
- Use case from Slovenia, presentation by Karmen Hren, SURS - Slovenian Statistics Office.
- Could data access save lives? Cases for better public health in the EU through privately-held data:
- Case and population geolocation data for infectious disease outbreak investigation and surveillance, presentation by Emmanuel Robesyn, European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.
- If more data equals more food safety, then what's the problem? Perspectives and challenges, presentation by Jonas Lund Mathisen, Ministry of Environment and Food of Denmark.
- Holistic approach to the useful information regarding health care: CrowdHEALTH use, presentation by Salvador Tortajada, Health Research Institute La Fe.
- Access to privately held data in the context of smart cities:
- Data sharing with private partners, presentation by Tamas Erkelens & Ron Van der Lans, City of Amsterdam.
- Use case from Hamburg: access to data to establish smart cities, presentation by Matthias Wieckmann, Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg.