European Commission takes right approach to nurturing digital growth
- Digital Single Market report right to encourage free data flow across borders
- Restrictions on data flows or regionalised standards could cripple Europe’s competitiveness
- Caution should be exercised on new regulations, which could limit freedom to innovate
Brussels, 6 May 2015 – The European Commission wants data to flow freely across borders under unified standards in order to nurture digital growth in Europe, and that is exactly the right approach, the European Committee for Interoperable Systems (ECIS) said on Wednesday.
“We agree that cloud services and big data would be crippled by fragmentation, compromising Europe’s competitiveness,” said Thomas Vinje, spokesman for ECIS. “As our report on ensuring a thriving cloud computing market showed late last year, Europe can stay at the forefront of the digital industry only by free and unfettered competition and interoperability with others around the world.”
The European Commission’s Digital Single Market strategy report, released on Wednesday, makes many of the same points as the ECIS report.
The report is right to say that the European Union should be intimately involved in the development of standards for cybersecurity, big data, cloud computing and the Internet of Things. ECIS believes it is equally important that these standards work well around the world, so European companies have the tools they need to grow and compete.
The report also rightfully cites as potential barriers the fragmentation of copyright rules, lack of clarity over rights to use data across borders and lack of inter-operability.
“We at ECIS have been working for more than two decades, both on the Web and before its use was widespread, to help achieve inter-operable standards that allow increased competition and innovation,” Vinje said. “We are gratified to see the European Commission advocating that approach for the internet.”
ECIS also expressed concern that care be taken before creating any new regulations, even though they may have the laudatory goal of creating a more competitive environment.
“The best-intentioned regulations have the potential to slow competition rather than promote it. It is particularly important not to introduce regulation in Europe that could hamper European companies, when companies outside Europe enjoy unregulated ability to innovate and compete.” Vinje said.
ECIS is an international non-profit association founded in 1989 that endeavours to promote a favourable environment for interoperable ICT solutions. It has actively represented its members regarding issues related to interoperability and competition before European, international and national fora, including the EU institutions and WIPO. ECIS’ members include large and smaller information and communications technology hardware and software providers. The association strives to promote market conditions in the ICT sector that ensure there is vigorous competition on the merits and a diversity of consumer choice.