“You can move it, move it!”
Every day we enjoy the benefits of the EU Single Market without always recognising it, it has become so obvious to us. Just as we can travel freely from one Member State to another, so can goods, services and capital - these are our four freedoms.
Moreover, thanks to digital developments, the world has become so wide for us.
As the only constant is change, there is no need to stop here. Soon the fifth freedom will be added to the existing four.
A new law will make it possible to freely move non-personal data within the EU.
Why do we need a fifth freedom?
The fifth freedom will reduce the data protectionism that is threatening our digital economy.
The Regulation on the free flow of non-personal data is part of the Digital Single Market strategy. It is here to remove any remaining obstacles to the free movement of non-personal data, thus giving us the fifth freedom in the EU - the free flow of data.
To put it simply, non-personal data - that is any other data than that related to an identifiable person - can be then stored and processed anywhere in the EU.
This brings us - to be more precise - about 8 billion per year in estimated GDP growth. This will be an enormous boost for our businesses and public authorities. It will pave the way for artificial intelligence, cloud computing and big data analysis. Welcome to the new era for the digital economy in Europe!
Freedom, of course, brings with it responsibility. Despite the fact that data can in principle be transferred to any EU Member State without restrictions, an exception can be made on the grounds of security. But only when justified on imperative grounds of public security - we have ensured the free movement of data is hampered as little as possible.
Is my personal data safe?
No worries here, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) covers you already. The new law on free flow of non-personal data will not affect your privacy.
In case of personal and non-personal data being linked together, the GDPR will apply to the personal data part of the set, and the free flow of non-personal data principle will apply to the non-personal part.
What else is new?
To help those affected by the new law, the Regulation establishes a single point of contact per Member State. This gives easy access to the competent authorities in cases where data is stored in another Member State.
As our spokesperson Anna Maria Corazza Bildt, who led this negotiation on behalf of the Parliament, puts it: We want an open, free and safe internet for all!