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Public consultation on Building the European data economy

Data has become an essential resource for economic growth, job creation and societal progress. Data analysis facilitates better decision-making, innovation and the prediction of future events.

Europe aims to exploit this potential without infringing the rights and freedoms of people or damaging economic investments made into generating data.

Within this context, the Commission aims to foster an efficient, competitive single market for data services including cloud-based ones. It needs to identify the legal, economic, and regulatory challenges, and to launch a discussion with stakeholders on future action.

On 10 January 2017, the Commission adopted the “Building the European Data Economy” package consisting of a Communication and a Staff Working Document. These policy documents give an overview of issues at stake, and of the context of this consultation. Respondents are invited to read them prior to completing the questionnaire.


The public consultation will help shape the future policy agenda on the European data economy. It will feed into a possible Commission’s initiative in 2017 on Building the European Data Economy.

The objective of the consultation is to collect information on:

  • whether and how local or national data localisation restrictions inhibit the free flow of data in Europe
  • whether and to what extent digital non-personal machine-generated data are traded and exchanged
  • the nature and magnitude of any barriers to accessing such data
  • ways of tackling those barriers
  • emerging Internet of Things and robotics liability challenges
  • practices and issues relating to data portability, interoperability and standards



The “Building the European Data Economy” package addresses restrictions on the free flow of data, including legal barriers on the location of data for storage and/or processing purposes, and a series of emerging issues relating to data such as ownership, access, reuse, portability and liability.

While the questions on liability issues in this consultation are addressed in a data economy context, a separate consultation separate consultation on the overall evaluation of the application of the Product Liability Directive (85/374/EEC) is being launched.

This consultation does not cover any issues related to personal data protection. These are extensively regulated elsewhere, namely in the new EU data protection rules, as well as through the review of the ePrivacy Directive. Issues of access to and re-use of public sector information are excluded from this consultation because they will be tackled under the upcoming review of the Directive on the re-use of public sector information (2003/98/EC).

The Commission has already engaged in an extensive dialogue on the data economy with stakeholders, in the form of sector-specific (e.g. manufacturing and financial sectors) and cross-sector round-tables, workshopsconferences, bilateral meetings including targeted consultations of the Member States on data economy topics, and a public consultation in which the data economy was one of a broader range of topics.

Targeted respondents

This consultation targets:

  • Businesses of all sizes
  • Manufacturers and users of connected devices
  • Operators and users of online platforms
  • Data brokers
  • Businesses commercialising data-based products and services
  • Public authorities
  • Non-governmental organisations
  • Researcher and research organisations
  • Consumers

As data collected by sensors are used in many areas, this consultation targets all sectors. Some of the sectors likely to be concerned are manufacturing, energy, automotive, health, consumer-facing commerce, Internet of Things (IoT), etc.

Consultation period

10 January – 26 April 2017

Replies received after the closing date will not be considered. 

How to respond 

You can reply in any EU language, even to the online English version of the questionnaire. The questionnaire in all of the other EU languages will be available as from 1 February 2017.

Only responses received through the online questionnaire will be considered for analysis. Questionnaires sent by e-mail or on paper will not be analysed except those due to accessibility needs of persons with disabilities (see below).

All questions and sections are optional. You can pause any time and continue later. You can download your contribution once you have submitted your answers.

Given the volume of this consultation, you can download a PDF version before responding to the survey online. The PDF version includes all possible questions. When you fill the survey in online, you will not see all of the questions; only those applicable to your chosen respondent category and to other choices made when you answer previous questions.

The questionnaire is divided between 4 sections: 
1. Localisation of data for storage and / or processing purposes 
2. Access to and re-use of non-personal data 
3. Liability 
4. Portability of non-personal data, interoperability and standards 
While you may want to contribute to the entire questionnaire, it is also possible for you to contribute only to the sections (s) that is / are relevant to you or your organisation.

18 gennaio 2017

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