NEWS21 February 2020

EU outlines data strategy and AI plans

AI Europe GDPR News Privacy Technology

BELGIUM – The European Commission has published documents outlining its European data strategy and proposals for how to regulate artificial intelligence.

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The Commission wants to set up what it calls a ‘European data space’ – a single market for data that would make ‘unused data’ available for researchers, businesses and the public sector.

To do this, it proposes a regulatory framework covering data governance, data access and how data is re-used. This would involve setting up incentives for data sharing, new rules on data access, making public sector data more widely available, and allowing the public sector to re-use privately held data.

The Commission also intends to draw up new rules for how AI is developed in Europe, it said in its white paper. It said the new regulatory framework should be ‘risk-based’ in its approach and that it would focus on ‘high-risk’ applications of AI, including health, policing and transport.

On the topic of facial recognition, the Commission wants to launch a debate about where the use of the technology and biometric data in public spaces might be justified, if at all.

For AI applications deemed to pose less of a risk, it is considering a voluntary labelling system to help people identify which services are more trustworthy.

Thierry Breton, commissioner for internal market, said: "Our society is generating a huge wave of industrial and public data, which will transform the way we produce, consume and live. I want European businesses and our many SMEs to access this data and create value for Europeans – including by developing artificial intelligence applications.

"Europe has everything it takes to lead the ‘big data’ race, and preserve its technological sovereignty, industrial leadership and economic competitiveness to the benefit of European consumers."

The Commission plans to present a Digital Services Act and a European Democracy Action Plan later this year. The AI white paper is open for public consultation and the data strategy is open for feedback.