Monday

17th Jun 2019

Opinion

Digital content directive threatens app development sector

  • Anonymising and aggregating data are vital tools that developers can use to design in privacy. (Photo: N i c o l a)

European game developers are global leaders. In 2015, the top five most downloaded games globally came from European studios.

Like many of the apps we use to improve our daily lives - from our journey to work to booking a weekend away; from reducing our carbon footprint to helping us eat more healthily - these games get better all the time because developers learn from the anonymised, aggregated bulk data that the use of these games and apps provides, data like crash reports and performance data.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

Anonymising and aggregating data are vital tools that developers can use to design in privacy too – an ever increasing concern for Europeans.

The proposed new Digital Content Directive puts all this at risk.

It could make privacy by design much more difficult, create uncertainty because of conflicts with the General Data Protection Regulation, reduce the quality of apps and games available to consumers and undermine the growth of one of Europe’s fastest growing job-creating sectors.

The directive gives users rights to ask for their data to be returned, not just their personal data but all the data they may have provided to a service including, for example, the data they generate by simply using the service. So developers can’t anonymise it – just in case they have to return it.

This also appears to create a conflict between the new directive and the principles and obligations of the General Data Protection Regulation.

No business or investor, large or small, wants that sort of uncertainty hanging over their heads.

The directive will make games and apps more expensive to produce, hitting hard mainly the SME apps developers, putting jobs and tax revenues at risk.

Why? Because services will have to be re-designed and re-tested simply so that the service provider can return data that users don’t appear to want back and will rarely be any value to them.

And it’s not just the threat to today’s apps. The directive throws this spanner in the works just at the time when Europe is on the verge of finding new ways of harnessing the benefits that big data, machine learning and internet of things promise.

It’s not just my opinion – the European Commission itself said that for consumers “this global trend [data-driven innovation] holds enormous potential in various fields, ranging from health, food security, [...] and smart cities, which Europe cannot afford to miss.”

The proposers of this directive must explain why it’s worth taking these risks, because right now it looks to me to be a good example of what Europe doesn’t need.

John Higgins is director general of DIGITALEUROPE.

Disclaimer

The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author's, not those of EUobserver.

Fixing Europe’s digital skills gap

While 90 percent of jobs requires IT knowledge, almost half of the EU population is not properly digitally skilled. That's why training is key for the future, says Google Europe chief.

What digital barriers do Europeans still face?

"Mom! I did something illegal!" - as the EU gets set to unveil its new strategy on liberalising the digital single market, what online barriers do Europeans still face?

How Europe can harness its digital economy

While other sectors fall apart, Europe's digital economy is booming thanks to smaller countries like Estonia, Finland and Ireland. They need to shout louder about their ambitions.

Catalonia MEPs are a judicial, not political, issue

Carles Puigdemont and Toni Comin currently live outside Spain. They were prosecuted for the serious crimes, and they have fled justice. It is not possible to judge in absentia in Spain, where the justice system protects the rights of defendants.

News in Brief

  1. EU plans to restructure eurozone bonds
  2. EU ups US imports in beef deal
  3. Unicef: UK among 'least family-friendly' in Europe
  4. Czech PM: No joint 'V4' candidate in commission race
  5. Johnson tops first round to replace May, three eliminated
  6. Bratislava will host new European Labour Authority
  7. Juncker cautions against further climate goals
  8. Study: Counterfeit medicine is a 'growing threat' in EU

Six takeaways on digital disinformation at EU elections

For example, Germany's primetime TV news reported that 47 percent of political social media discussions were related to the extreme-right AfD party, when in fact this was the case only for Twitter - used by only four percent of Germans.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  3. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  5. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  6. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  7. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  8. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  9. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody

Latest News

  1. 'Russian sources' targeted EU elections with disinformation
  2. Top EU jobs summit dominates This WEEK
  3. EP parties planning 'coalition agenda' ahead of jobs summit
  4. MEP blasts Portugal over football whistleblower
  5. Catalonia MEPs are a judicial, not political, issue
  6. Meet the lawyer taking the EU migration policy to the ICC
  7. Europe's oil supplies 'at risk' after tanker attacks
  8. EU paths fork for Albania and North Macedonia

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us