In November 2018, the European Commission presented its Digital Strategy, where it set the vision to become a ‘digitally transformed, user-focused and data-driven administration by 2022’. As EU policies rely increasingly on data, the ways in which it is stored, shared and processed are at the core of the current digital discussions.
Geopolitical, economic and security developments have led to calls for a return to national and regional solutions. Meanwhile, governments and companies are finding it challenging to use the diverse potential of new technologies available on the global marketplace to remain competitive.
Terms such as ‘Data sovereignty’ are used to make digital information subject to the laws of the country in which such data is shared, processed and stored. As the US and China further develop their technology industries’ presence in the EU, policymakers are contemplating policy initiatives that support the EU’s digital development, whilst simultaneously seeking to protect it.
EURACTIV organised this Presidency Debate to discuss how the EU is approaching the opportunities and challenges posed by the storage (localisation), sharing, processing and management of data. Questions included:
- Will EU data protection standards be compromised if Europeans do not ‘control’ their own data?
- Is it enough to share a vision of technology benefiting EU citizens? What other responsibilities should foreign investors take?
- If Europe’s 4th Industrial Revolution is driven by AI and 5G technology, can the EU afford to ignore the best technologies available, regardless of where they come from?
- How can technology policy and economic freedom as well as international competitiveness be best ensured?
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