Within less than a decade, most economic activities will strongly depend on digital ecosystems integrating big data solutions. The Commission has recognised the importance of the data economy in the Digital Single Market Strategy as a catalyst for economic growth. Under the third pillar of the DSM Strategy (‘‘Maximising the growth potential of the Digital Economy’’) the Commission committed to propose in 2016 a European Free Flow of Data initiative to tackle the emerging challenges in the European Data Economy.

The Building a Data Economy (free flow of data) initiative is part of the Digital Single Market Strategy which aims to maximise the growth potential of the Digital Economy. The initiative will address legal uncertainties surrounding access to, and transfer of, data and the adequacy of the legal framework on liability, contractual and extra-contractual, to meet the challenges brought about by the Internet of Things (IoT) and the rise of autonomous systems (robotics).

In the context of Big Data and the Data Economy, the Commission is fully committed to investigate into the emerging legal issues and possible obstacles to the creation of a true European Data Economy. From this perspective the Commission will focus, among other things, on ensuring that contracts on access to/transfer of data and on liability aspects are balanced and fair for all market actors and that the uptake of technological solutions is not hindered by legal uncertainty or regulatory gaps.

With a view to prepare the forthcoming Commission initiative, the Commission is organising a 2-day workshop on 21 and 22 September 2016 in Brussels. The workshop will discuss, on 21 September, the emerging challenges in the data economy (access to/transfer of data) and, on 22 September, liability in the context of Internet of Things and robotics technology.

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