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EU looking to set data free

The European Commission intends to establish the free movement of data “as a basic principle in EU law”, it has announced.

Andrus Ansip, the Commission vice-president for the digital single market, said at a meeting of member state representatives in Estonia on 17 July that “today’s situation regarding data in Europe has to change”. At present, data is too localised in individual member states or regions, resulting in waste and inefficiency, he said.

The problem is caused by a combination of member state laws that force data to be stored within certain territories, and by uncertainty over the rules around cross-border data storage and processing, according to Ansip. The Commission is therefore working on an impact assessment for a change in EU law, and expects to present a proposal in the autumn, he said.

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