Data localisation restrictions are perceived as being a barrier to a functioning Digital Single Market and a flourishing data economy. A study was conducted to investigate about data localisation restrictions that are currently in place.

The objective of the study (study reference: SMART 2015/0054) was to provide evidence on the scope and magnitude of legal and non-legal barriers in Member State practices which hinder the free flow of non-personal data within the European Union in order to contribute to the sustainable development of a Digital Single Market. It should also give evidence about the costs of these barriers for private and public sector.

Legal barriers impeding the storage in a country other than the owner's country are e.g.:

  • Sweden requires that accounting data of all companies registered in Sweden are kept locally in Sweden, even if stored electronically (Swedish Bookkeeping Act)
  • Croatia stipulates that data under its Personal Data Protection Act (health data records, basic identity registers etc) are stored in data centers that are located on the territory of the Republic of Croatia

Together with other relevant inputs from Member States and industry, the results of the study were used to tailor a legislative proposal on free flow of non-personal data that meets the needs of the market, the public sector and consumers.

An extract of this study has been published already with the Commission Communication "Building a European Data Economy" on 10 January 2017.

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