Towards a holistic regulatory approach for the European data economy: Why the illusive notion of non-personal data is counterproductive to data innovation

Inge Graef, Raphaël Gellert, Martin Husovec

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

The European Data Economy initiative is built on the belief that the current regulatory environment is not capable of unleashing the full potential of the data-driven economy. The initiative focuses on "non-personal data" as a way to complement data protection rules that regulate the processing of personal data. The article argues that the notion of non-personal data as a starting-point for new data innovation policies is counterproductive for three fundamental reasons: datasets are often mixed and the boundaries of personal data are too fluid to act as regulatory anchor; having two separate regimes applicable to mixed datasets might lead to strategic behaviour of firms exploiting this regulatory rivalry; and data has economic value irrespective of its legal classification, and there is no evidence that an elusive zone of non-personal data is more essential as innovation input. We conclude that a holistic approach to "data" as such, which a priori incorporates data protection considerations in its design, is more likely to deliver a successful innovation policy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)605-621
Number of pages17
JournalEuropean Law Review
Volume44
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Keywords

  • Data processing
  • Data protection
  • EU law
  • Innovation
  • Personal data

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  • Projects

    INFO-LEG: INFO-LEG

    Purtova, N., Gellert, R., Dengler, S., Wan, E. & Paun, M.

    1/03/1728/02/22

    Project: Research project

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