DG Connect commissioned this report to evaluate whether the concept of personal data stores ('personal data spaces', 'personal data clouds', 'personal data vaults') is a viable mechanism to increase consumer trust and engagement in the Digital Single Market and to ensure wider access to good quality personal data. It results from an experimental cooperation between DG Connect and the Cambridge Judge Business School. The report explores the concept of personal data spaces from social, legal, technical, and economic perspectives, recommending ways to guide development of the innovation. The report also explores personal data spaces specifically in the healthcare sector to provide a concrete case study.

The report finds that this user-centric model could offer individuals more convenience, new forms of remuneration and data management tools, as well as easing their exercise of their privacy rights. From the business and research perspectives, it could provide new opportunities for innovative growth, enable new and more comprehensive research, open up big data analytics to smaller firms, and provide efficiency gains to public sector organisations in particular.

It considers that personal data stores may play an important role in unlocking the overall value of personal data applications, whose value-creation potential (summing the overall expected economic benefits to organisations and to consumers) is estimated at close to 1 trillion euro annually by 2020. According to the report, the potential market size for providers of personal data spaces in the EU could be up to 91.9 billion euro.

Against this background, the report stresses however that, as an innovative concept, personal data stores face significant obstacles to widespread diffusion. In particular, providers must reach critical mass in the context of a double-sided market: the personal data spaces system must attract a sufficient number of individuals and businesses if it is to flourish as a platform for data exchange, but neither individuals nor businesses are easily captured without the other first in place. Current service providers have attempted a range of strategies to address this dilemma, from targeting a user group to fill both sides to proposing traditional services and eventually adding more specialised capabilities. From the perspective of completing the Digital Single Market, increasing users' trust would be crucial to support the personal data spaces development.

By the European Commission, Directorate-General of Communications Networks, Content & Technology.
The information and views set out in the attached publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official opinion of the Commission. The Commission does not guarantee the accuracy of the data included in this study. Neither the Commission nor any person acting on the Commission’s behalf may be held responsible for the use which may be made of the information contained therein.

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