Tuesday

17th Oct 2017

EU to make public data easily accessible

  • Public information is a 'goldmine', says the commission (Photo: The Planet)

The European Commission on Monday (12 December) proposed that public data in the EU be easily accessible and open to re-use, a move it says will spur economic growth.

The proposal aims to revise existing legislation on the re-use of public sector information, making all public data easily accessible and allowing it to be re-used for any purpose at marginal cost. Today, gaining permission to use publicly held data - such as geographical or meteorological statistics, data from publicly funded research projects, or digitised books from libraries - is often costly and complicated.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

“Today's package will radically shake up how the EU institutions and most public authorities in Europe share their data. Public data generated by all administrations in Europe will become automatically re-usable," EU digital affairs commissioner Neelie Kroes told reporters in Brussels. The proposal is nothing short of "a revolution", she said.

The commission will begin by making its own public data more accessible by means of an online data portal, to be up and running in the spring of 2012.

Kroes had calculated that the use of public information currently generates €32 billion in economic activity, a figure she said could double if companies were able to more easily tap into the “goldmine” of public data. Developers of smart-phone apps that provide real-time traffic or weather information, for example, would be among the beneficiaries.

“The best way to get value from data is to give it away,” she said.

Dutch Green MEP Judith Sargentini has welcomed the proposal, saying that the move would contribute to more transparent governance.

“Governments often find transparency terribly scary,” she said in a statement.

But beyond making public data more accessible, the proposal does not actually make more government information public. There is also no mention of a review of the way that information is classified - a thorny subject in EU circles.

The European Parliament has long argued with the commission and member states about a revision of existing legislation, in place since 2001.

Last month, the civil liberties committee adopted changes that "seek to improve transparency, accountability and democracy within EU institutions," according to Labour MEP Micheal Cashman, in charge of the dossier.

The parliament is expected to vote on the report in plenary on Wednesday. If approved, the proposal would widen the scope of documents that can be made public and apply to all EU entities, including the European Court of Justice and the European Central Bank.

Focus

Smartphones are 'data goldmines' for hackers

Smartphones allows us watch videos, listen to music, check emails, find the nearest restaurant, and update our 'status' on Twitter and Facebook, but with the increased technology comes new and largely under-appreciated security threats.

Investigation

EU states copy Israel's 'predictive policing'

Israelis are using social profiling and predictive policing, also known as 'Facebook arrests', to crack down on suspects in Palestinian territories. National authorities in the EU, including the EU's police agency, Europol, are now applying the tactics closer to home.

Investigation

EU states copy Israel's 'predictive policing'

Israelis are using social profiling and predictive policing, also known as 'Facebook arrests', to crack down on suspects in Palestinian territories. National authorities in the EU, including the EU's police agency, Europol, are now applying the tactics closer to home.

News in Brief

  1. EU to keep 'Dieselgate' letter secret
  2. No deal yet on Mediterranean alliance for EU agencies
  3. EU Commission condemns Maltese journalist's murder
  4. Poland denies wrongdoing over forest logging
  5. Risk to asylum kids in EU increasing, says charity
  6. Schroeder warns of Turkey and Russia drifting towards China
  7. EU parliament wants equal pay for posted workers
  8. Catalan independence leaders taken into custody

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EU2017EENorth Korea Leaves Europe No Choice, Says Estonian Foreign Minister Sven Mikser
  2. Mission of China to the EUZhang Ming Appointed New Ambassador of the Mission of China to the EU
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsEU Should Seek Concrete Commitments From Azerbaijan at Human Rights Dialogue
  4. European Jewish CongressEJC Calls for New Austrian Government to Exclude Extremist Freedom Party
  5. CES - Silicones EuropeIn Healthcare, Silicones Are the Frontrunner. And That's a Good Thing!
  6. EU2017EEEuropean Space Week 2017 in Tallinn from November 3-9. Register Now!
  7. European Entrepreneurs CEA-PMEMobiliseSME Exchange Programme Open Doors for 400 Companies Across Europe
  8. CECEE-Privacy Regulation – Hands off M2M Communication!
  9. ILGA-EuropeHealth4LGBTI: Reducing Health Inequalities Experienced by LGBTI People
  10. EU2017EEEHealth: A Tool for More Equal Health
  11. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Tourism a Key Driver for Job Creation and Enhanced Competitiveness
  12. CECENon-Harmonised Homologation of Mobile Machinery Costs € 90 Million per Year

Latest News

  1. Nepal troops arrive in Libya to guard UN refugee agency
  2. Is Banking Authority HQ the Brexit 'booby prize'?
  3. EU-Russia trade bouncing back - despite sanctions
  4. No sign of Brexit speed-up after May-Juncker dinner
  5. EU defence strategy 'outsourced' to arms industry
  6. EU privacy rules tilt to industry, NGO says
  7. Malta in shock after car bomb kills crusading journalist
  8. Spanish and Catalan leaders continue stand-off