PCO21 | News: Data Policy

German Bundestag elections 2021: Data Policy

Where we are right now and what we want


The urgently needed digitisation and the expansion of Germany as a digital location can only succeed if we systematically exploit data treasures, simplify data use and maintain data transfers internationally. This will also determine whether we can make full use of technologies such as artificial intelligence and the cloud and hold our own in global competition.

For the success of the European data economy and the successful development of German/European data platforms, it is essential to reduce legal uncertainties in the handling of personal and non-personal data. Companies hesitate to use data because they can hardly assess legal risks. However, it is of course possible to reconcile data protection and the innovative use of digital technology if the interests of the data subjects in terms of data sovereignty - i.e. a self-determined allocation of the use of their data - are safeguarded and the processor ensures data care - i.e. the lawful and secure processing of the data. It will therefore be crucial that principles such as data sovereignty, data care and data availability are developed as guiding principles and that a balance is struck with principles such as data minimisation.


Recommendations for action for the new legislative period


Data quality and access

The basic prerequisite for successful, European data-driven business models is the quality of the data in conjunction with a concrete process model of how the evaluation of this data can provide a benefit. This can be a business model in the economy or the improvement of an administrative service in the administration. Access to data includes not only physical access to (quality-assured) data, but also its description and linkability with other data. Only when these aspects are taken into account and solved is it possible to draw the inherent knowledge from data and gain the benefits outlined.


Strengthening data cooperation

Data cooperation will be one of the keys to the data economy. This is true in both the national and international context. International data transfers must therefore be possible in a legally secure manner on a permanent basis, competition among providers must be promoted and data security requirements must be implemented consistently. Innovative data management and data trust models can offer new potential. Practical examples should be established in a timely manner together with the business community and the data trust models currently being developed should be promoted. In this context, existing market solutions that support consumers in the allocation of rights and access and the handling of their data should also be considered and, if necessary, built upon. Cooperative data use models between companies are the right way to promote data exchange between companies. To this end, there is above all a need for action in the overarching harmonisation of even sector-specific standards or codes with regard to data semantics, data formats and interfaces. Successful data exchange also urgently requires legal certainty on liability and competition issues as well as data protection. Here, legislators and supervisory authorities can provide the necessary clarity with unambiguous interpretations, guidelines, model contracts and references to explicit design leeway that companies should also use.


Support data ecosystems

Successful data ecosystems need a digital policy that focuses on data sovereignty, data care and data availability. Data economy should be further developed as a guiding principle for personal data against this background and balanced with data economic aspects. This is the basis for user-side trust and control in data ecosystems that are built on the basis of and in networking with sovereign cloud and data infrastructures. These ecosystems thus form the basis for a functioning and competitive European data economy.


Creating coherence, in particular removing federal hurdles

A coherent legal framework is essential for the data economy. Federal interpretations and special regulations on data protection have an inhibiting effect on innovation and cause locational disadvantages within the Federal Republic. There is also a need for coherence in the interpretation of data protection requirements by the supervisory authorities. The status quo in the open data sector shows that a wide variety of regulatory approaches are being taken, initially at the EU level and later additionally at the federal, state and local levels, which are not interlinked.[1] Locally limited regulations in particular are often counterproductive, as the greatest possible benefit can only be achieved through a free flow of data, the merging of databases and the networking of stakeholders.


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