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POLICY | 09 March 2021

Data

Data is everywhere and growing at an unprecedented pace. We are defining today a European approach to unlock the benefits of data.

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Data is an essential building block of modern societies. In our digital world, we generate more and more data in our daily lives while browsing the internet, renting a bike, booking a train ticket or buying clothes online. Public bodies also produce huge amounts of data, for example from meteorological information or traffic flows. The quantity of data is expected to multiply by five between 2018 and 2025, enough to make the journey to the moon and back five times if the data was stored on 512 GB tablets. This vast amount of data can be processed faster than we ever imagined, and put to an almost endless variety of uses.

Getting access to data, reusing and processing it will improve our daily lives: it will allow us to deliver personalised medicines and help to find cures for rare or chronic diseases because scientists can identify the best treatment thanks to having more evidence available. It will also help us find use our time and resources more efficiently, such as through real-time notification of delayed-trains and road traffic.

Data is a driver of innovation for industries and small and medium enterprises. For example, information collected in the fields thanks to sensors can support farmers to take care of the lands and the crops with a high precision. Data also helps us protect our planet. By collecting information on the environment, we can combat natural disasters, such as floods and wildfires. And by monitoring the energy consumption of buildings or cars, we can optimise the energy efficiency and reduce our carbon footprint.

To be able to fully realise data's potential, data needs to be stored and shared in a trusted way respecting EU rules and values, for example in the area of personal data protection, and respect of intellectual property and trade secrets. That is why we are creating a new model with clear rules: a European single market for data, open yet sovereign, that will benefit to all. 

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