Regulation on the Free Flow of Non-personal Data

In September 2017, the European Commission published a proposal for a Regulation on a framework for the free flow of non-personal data in European Union. This Regulation intends to support the development of the Digital Single Market and European Data Economy.

Free Flow of Non-personal Data

The scope of the Regulation is defined as “the storage or other processing of electronic data other than personal data in the Union which is provided as a service to users residing or having an establishment in the Union”, or “carried out by a natural or legal person residing or having an establishment in the Union for its own needs”.

New digital technologies and developments, such as cloud computing, big data, artificial intelligence, and the Internet of Things rely on the use of large amounts of data to maximise efficiency, enable economies of scale, and develop new services.

With its proposal, the European Commission aimed to remove a number of barriers to the free flow of data, which included:

  • Data localisation restrictions at the national level (either legislative or administrative)
  • Lack of trust in the market
  • Practices that hinder switching between service providers or prevent data portability

The European Commission aimed to create legal certainty by proposing a framework to legislate and harmonise the free movement of non-personal data. The European Commission wants to facilitate the development of self-regulatory codes of conduct to enable an easy change of service providers and improve data portability.

Next Steps

The Regulation was formally signed by the European Parliament and the Council on 14 November 2018 and will start to apply as of May 2019.


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