Can a European single market for data unlock data, allowing it to flow freely across borders and sectors for the benefit of businesses, researchers and public administrations?  In its recent paper the EU Commission sets out this goal, which it hopes will empower cItizens , businesses and organisations to make better decisions based on insights gleaned from non-personal data.

To achieve its goals the EU Commission proposes incentives for data sharing, establishing practical, fair and clear rules on data access and use, which comply with European values and rights such as personal data protection, consumer protection and competition rules. It also means to make public sector data more widely available by opening up high-value datasets across the EU and allowing their reuse to innovate on top. 

One risk of such an approach is the distinction between personal data and non personal data, especially where AI and analytics may be used to interrogate anonymised data to identify patterns and links from which individuals can be identified.