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European Startups Tell the EU to let Europe’s Data Flow Freely

On 18-19 October 2016, techUK led our latest delegation of European startup and scaleups to Brussels to meet with European policy-makers including Vice President for the Digital Single Market Andrus Ansip.This delegation focused on the importance of the Digital Single Market's (DSM) Free Flow of Data initiative and ensuring copyright reforms are fit for the digital age.

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The six companies from the UK, Estonia, Spain and Belgium who joined the delegation were small, high-growth data enabled European startups and scaleups driving new forms of growth and jobs across Europe. Delegates ranged from international student admission platform DreamApply (Estonia), Datary.io (Spain) that is digitising government and business files, user-generated news aggregation and content sharing platform Meneame (Spain), community platform connecting 900 chefs with 110,000 users Menu Next Door (Belgium), and AgriLedger (UK) that Is using distributed cryptoledger to connect farmers with buyers.

Members of European Parliament (MEPs) and Commission were excited to hear first-hand accounts of how startups view the DSM as an opportunity for regulatory simplicity to help them scale. The delegates explored their businesses’ objectives, growth aims and vital role data is playing across a vast diversity of businesses across Europe. In particular, the meetings focused on national restrictions to the free flow of data, concerns over liability, data protection, and the ambition of these businesses to scale in Europe. 

The delegation also highlighted how proposed new ancillary rights for publishers would impact their businesses and raised concerns over the draft Digital Content Directive.

techUK has worked with members to identify our top priorities to help unlock the free flow of data across Europe. 

  1. European data is able to move freely across Member States as well as outside the EU by removing data localisation requirements for data to remain solely within specific country.
  2. Exemptions should be narrowly defined and interpreted in a harmonised way across the EU.
  3. The Commission’s starting point on any discussion around personal data should be the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
  4. Debates around data ownership or non-personal should focus on the role of having the right mechanisms in place, such as clear contractual agreements, to exert control, access, rights and responsibility over data, in individual scenarios.
  5. Data access and reuse should be encouraged by supporting existing measures such as API’s and data sharing initiatives.
  6. Where data interoperability and portability rules and requirements have been developed these should be showcased and promoted. For example in the UK finance sector through joint industry and government collaboration.
  7. A Better Regulation approach should be taken to ensure the final FFDI is coherent with wider DSM packages and the forthcoming GDPR.

>>> Read techUK’s Full Priorities for the Free Flow of Data Across Europe

techUK’s delegation met with MEPs and senior European Commission officials, to share their hopes for how the creation of a European Digital Single Market could help to remove market fragmentation and the impact of data localisation requirements. The delegation meet with Anneliese Dodds MEP (UK, S&D), Marju Lauristin MEP (Estonia, S&D) , Alessia Mosca MEP (Italy, S&D), Ana Gomes MEP (Portugal, S&D), Pavel Emilian MEP (Romania, S&D), Sean Kelly (Ireland, EPP), Antanas Guoga MEP (Lithuania, EPP), Jan Philipp Albrecht MEP (Germany, Greens-EFA), Julia Reda MEP (Germany, Greens-EFA), Pearse O’Donohue Acting Director DG Connect, Helen Koepman, DG CNECT and Angela Anguinetti, DG Just.

For more information on techUK's work on the Digital Single Market please contact Shane Murphy

For more information on techUK's work on the Free Flow of Data please contact Sue Daley 

For more information on techUK work on copyright reforms please contact Jeremy Lilley 

  • Sue Daley

    Sue Daley

    Associate Director | Technology & Innovation
    T 020 7331 2055

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