Event report: Open Access to Data – Beyond Public Sector Information (PSI) II: what will the drive for open data, data sharing and data access mean for innovators?

Event
Event

On 25 September, FIPRA and SAMMAN Law & Corporate Affairs held its second Digital Discussion Series event “Open Access to Data – Beyond Public Sector Information (PSI) II: what will the drive for open data, data sharing and data access mean for innovators?”.

 

The event provided an understanding of the main regulatory challenges of open data and looked at ways in which policies can better facilitate the use and re-use of data in order to bring economic and social value. More than 30 representatives from EU institutions, businesses, and trade associations attended the discussion moderated by FIPRA’s Chairman & Partner, Robert Madelin.

Yvo Volman, Head of the Data Policy and Innovation unit at the Directorate-General Communication Networks, Content and Technology (DG CNECT) of the European Commission, kicked off the discussion, recalling the importance data has gained at the highest political level. The data economy has a great potential not just for the value it can generate in itself, but also for acting as a facilitator across sectors: it could help reduce energy use by 16%, tackle road fatalities by 5.5%, and save up to 7,000 lives. The Commission, while reviewing the PSI Directive, has considered two streams for private sector data: i) the use of public sector data for public good (Business to Government (B2G) data sharing); ii) data sharing among companies (Business to Business (B2B) data sharing). On B2G data sharing a report from the Commission Expert Group is due to be released soon, he announced, while on B2B data sharing the Commission has released non-binding guidelines, signaling that further action may be required. He concluded by pointing towards the emergence of a more user-centric vision which would give the control to the users at a more granular level to decide what happens with their data.

Hannu Hämäläinen, Senior Advisor at the Finnish Innovation Fund SITRA shared his experience to illustrate how Finland has managed with the Findata project to open up and widen the use of social and health data from research and statistics to management, development, innovation and education. He referred to the Finnish healthcare database as a golden mine given the vast opportunities it created. Mr. Hämäläinen concluded by stressing the importance of trust and participation for any open data policy to be successful. 

The Head of EU Government Affairs at RELX, Elizabeth Crossick, opened her intervention by highlighting that by 2020 it was said that there would be more digital bits than stars in the sky.She then stressed thatthe value of data lies in the ability to enrich it, as well as extract patterns and relations from it. As a data analytics company operating across various sectors, RELX uses AI techniques such as text and data mining to help professionals work effectively and make better decisions. One of the REL’s research projects demonstrate that the technology is so powerful that it can help find a drug to treat rare diseases in days instead of months. 

Jean Coldefy, Digital Policy Officer at Transdev and Director of the Mobility 3.0 Programme at ATEC-ITS, illustrated how public data can foster smart mobility services. He explained the peculiarities of using public sector data in the mobility sector, where the lead experts are the public authorities at local level. Formerly spearheading the smart mobility strategy of the city of Lyon, Jean Coldefy detailed the experience of Lyon in settings for the use and re-use of mobility data by third parties, its sets becoming the most used in France (100 re-users). 

Thaima Samman, Head of Digital at FIPRA International & Founding Partner of SAMMAN Law and Corporate Affairs, thanked the speakers and wrapped up the discussion on what she remarked to be a key issue to watch during the new EU political term.

FIPRA and SAMMAN Law and Corporate Affairs already have the next event in the series in the diaries and look forward to welcoming attendees on 5 November to sit with Claire Bury, Deputy Director General of DG CNECT to discuss the digital priorities of the new European Commission. Click here to register for our next discussion in the series.