Today, the European Parliament approved the Open Data and Public Sector Information Directive that will significantly improve the availability and innovative use of public and publicly-funded data, helping in turn to fuel the development of data-intensive technologies such as artificial intelligence.
Vice-President for the Digital Single Market Andrus Ansip and Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society Mariya Gabriel welcomed the outcome of the vote in a joint statement:
“We are delighted by the overwhelming support to the Open Data Directive among the members of the European Parliament.
Data is a key asset of the digital economy and a large part of this asset is generated by the public sector. To fully exploit its innovative potential, it is essential that public and publicly-funded data is easily available for EU citizens and companies. This is especially true for Artificial Intelligence technologies, the development of which depends on access to huge amounts of data.
Strengthening the EU rules on the re-use of public sector information is necessary to bring it up to speed with the rapidly changing technologies and to tackle the barriers, which prevent SMEs and startups from innovating on public data resources.
Thanks to the Open Data Directive adopted today, real-time public sector data as well as data from research performing organisations and public undertakings will become more easily available and usable by machines and humans alike.
We would like to thank the Members of the European Parliament, the Member States and the stakeholders involved for ensuring a constructive and swift legislative process which led to today’s important vote.”
The text adopted today by the European Parliament has to be formally approved by the Council of the EU. Member States will then have to implement the revised rules within two years before they take effect. The Commission will start working with the Member States on the identification of the high-value datasets which will be set out in an Implementing Act.
The new rules are successors to the Public Sector Information Directive (2003/98/EC, reviewed in 2013) that governs the re-use of data generated by public sector bodies (e.g. legal, traffic, meteorological and financial, etc.) for commercial and non-commercial purposes.
On 25 April 2018, the Commission adopted the 2018 Data Package, addressing for the first time different types of data (public, private, scientific) within a coherent policy framework, making use of different policy instruments. Any re-use of personal data under the Directive on Open Data and Public Sector Information (PSI) must be in full respect of the rights and obligations contained in the EU General Data Protection Regulation.
The upcoming Implementing Act will make a selection of datasets of particular socio-economic importance (High Value Datasets) freely and openly available across the EU, via Application Programming Interfaces (APIs).