NEWS11 November 2013

Public and private sectors must share big data, says EU commissioner

Europe News

LITHUANIA — The public and private sectors must work together if Europe is to benefit fully from big data, says EU commissioner Neelie Kroes.

In a speech made at the ICT 2013 event, Kroes said that Europe is lagging behind the rest of the world in taking advantage of the opportunities presented by big data.

Language barriers, national borders, sector divides and differing legal frameworks have all contributed to the lack of a “coherent data ecosystem”, Kroes said.

“Put the data together, and the value of the whole is far more than the sum of its parts,” she added.

Kroes said that plans, under new EU legislation, to ensure more public data is published, as well as the creation of a new “pan-European open data portal” would help improve access to information. But she called for a new big data partnership to be formed between the public and private sectors in order to achieve “economies of scale”.

“A European public-private partnership in big data could unite all the players who matter,” she said.

Kroes was quick to add that sharing data should not affect personal privacy: “For data that does concern people, we need firm and modern data protection rules that safeguard this fundamental right,” she said. “And we need digital tools to help people take control of their data, so that they know they can be confident to trust this technology. Then we have a virtuous circle, where technological progress, our legal framework and our fundamental rights mutually support each other.”

The full speech can be read here.