4th October 2018

EP: Free flow of non-personal data: Parliament approves EU’s fifth freedom

On 4 October MEPs approved the final text of rules to ensure the free flow of non-personal data in the EU. 

Currently EU countries can oblige public and private public organisations to locate the storage or processing of data within national borders and in many cases do so. The current restrictions and legal uncertainty on moving data (for example by switching providers) cost EU businesses billions of euros every year. In the future restrictions will only be justified on the basis of public security. Data portability between cloud service providers should ensure real competition across borders with benefits for businesses.

In the case of data sets composed of both personal and non-personal data, the free flow regulation will apply to the non-personal data part of the set. Where personal and non-personal data are inextricably linked, this regulation shall not prejudice the application of the new EU data protection rules (GDPR), applicable since 25 May 2018. Thus, the two regulations do not overlap, but will complement each other.

The new law, approved in plenary by 520 votes to 81, with six abstentions, is due to be approved by the EU Council of Ministers on 6 November. It will apply six months after its publication in the EU Official Journal.

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Members of the American Chamber of Commerce in the Czech Republic