New European data rules should give consumers more control

How many steps do you take in a day, what time did you check in with the NS, what coffee did your smart coffee machine make this morning? Nowadays everything is tracked. Companies, among others, are eager for this type of data, and according to the European Commission, that is one of the reasons that more control is needed. New regulations for this have been presented today.

The Commission hopes that there will be an end to the uncertainty of who the digital data belongs to, the user or the manufacturer. Moreover, many people have no idea what happens to the data that companies collect. People often do not have access to it themselves.

The idea of ​​the new rules is that the user becomes the owner of his own data. It is just not yet clear how this works exactly and what kind of data is involved. When asked exactly what information qualifies for these rules, European Commissioner Breton simply said “all data”.

Control your own data

The Commission wants people to have control over their digital information. At the same time, it must also be easier for them to share that data with third parties. Think, for example, of a car that keeps track of exactly how fast you have driven. If desired, this data can be shared with the insurer, so that they can offer a tailor-made policy.

With these new regulations, companies should be able to respond more easily to the needs of their customers. Suppose your smart coffee machine has run out of beans, then only the manufacturer of your device will now see this. The idea is that you can also share this data with other companies in the future. Then you can choose a coffee supplier yourself, perhaps one that is cheaper or has tastier beans.

Businesses may not be thrilled with the new rules. They have to facilitate this and that costs extra money and effort. Certainly the smaller companies are not always able to do this.

In addition, it sometimes also concerns business-sensitive information that companies cannot or do not want to share. However, the Commission argues that sharing this data should promote competition.

‘Essential raw material’

The new rules also affect governments. Companies are obliged to share data with governments in specific cases. The hope is that data can play an important role in making Europe more sustainable. For example, governments can respond better to traffic jams. They can use more buses or trains if they know where and when traffic is greatest.

According to the Commission, the new package of rules is all the more important because data collection can contribute to the development of artificial intelligence. If Europe wants to compete in this area, it is therefore essential that the controls are in order.

It will, however, take a while before the rules actually apply. They are part of a much larger package of digital regulations that has yet to be approved by the European Parliament and Member States.

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