EU blockchain resolution and new regulation on data ‍flow

LawBytes deals this week with the EU Parliament blockchain resolution and the new Regulation on the free flow of non-personal data.

EU Blockchain – EU Parliament passes resolution on distributed ledger technologies(DLT)  

The EU Parliament has recently passed the resolution of 3 October 2018 on distributed ledger technologies and blockchains: building trust with disintermediation.

A major reason of the adoption of the resolution is to empower and protect EU citizens and startups in relation to the centralized banking system, while enabling EU companies and institutions to fully grasp the potential of the distributed ledger technologies (DLTs), like blockchain, in the spirit of technological and business model neutrality.

Among the multiple recommendations and call to action, most notably the resolution pushes EU institutions and Member States to:

  • develop technical standards for Distributed Ledger Technologies;
  • enhance legal certainty by means of legal coordination or mutual recognition regarding smart contracts;
  • identify dangers for the public and incorporate cryptocurrencies into the European payment system;
  • evaluate and tackle cybersecurity, interoperability and data protection issues; and
  • create funding opportunities and an Observatory for the monitoring of ICOs.

This move, together with the Digital Single Market strategy and recent Data centric law-making (like the one of the news below), confirms that the European Union aspires to become the global leader in the fourth industrial revolution.

The follow-up actions of this resolution and the further EU blockchain initiatives should be carefully monitored since the EU position could substantially influence the global regulatory ecosystem as the GDPR experience has shown.

Data Economy – EU adopts new rules facilitating the free flow of non-personal data

On October 4  2018, the European Parliament finally adopted the Regulation on the free flow of non-personal data proposed by the European Commission in September 2017.

The Regulation aims to achieve a more competitive and integrated EU market for data storage and/or processing services and activities by adopting key actions:

  • reducing the number and range of data localisation restrictions,
  • enhancing legal certainty;
  • facilitating cross-border availability of data for regulatory control purposes;
  • improving the conditions under which users can switch data storage and/or processing service providers or port their data back to their own IT systems; and
  • enhancing trust in and the security of cross-border data storage and/or processing.

The new rules will provide a major boost to the European data economy, as it opens up potential for European start-ups and SMEs to fully benefit from data-based global economy creating new services through cross-border data innovation. These rules are not in contrast with the GDPR, but have the goal of complementing it with reference to non-personal data. However, it is true that the tendency of the European privacy legislator in laws such as the draft ePrivacy Regulation is to go beyond the perimeter of personal data. The identification of the right balance between protecting individuals’ privacy and enhancing the exploitation of non-personal data will be difficult to identify.

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Tommaso Ricci

Tech addict and privacy geek, working with Giulio Coraggio in the Intellectual Property and Technology Department of DLA Piper. I write about latest news in the legal-tech framework to help intercept the trends and gain a competitive edge in the market.

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