Industry groups pen EC letter over national data storage

By:
James Pearce
Published on:

Letter challenges Commission to impose principle of free flowing data across Europe

Industry groups have challenged the European Commission over a number of regulations requiring internet service providers to store data on local servers.

In a letter addressed to commissioners Gunther Oettinger and Andrus Ansip, the groups, which range from trade bodies to businesses, expressed their opposition to national data storage requirements,

The letter was signed by the Internet Advertising Bureau, EuroISPA, Digital Europe, CICAm, AmCham and the Japan Business Council, among others, according to reports from Telecompaper.

The letter is linked to the EU’s plans to introduce a Digital Single Market across Europe, where laws and regulations over digital content and services are aligned across member states. One component of this, expected to be detailed early in 2017, is the “Free Flow of Data Initiative”.

The EU held a consultation workshop on the Free Flow of Data Initiative in May, and looked at the issue of data localisation restriction and legal barriers to the free flow of data.

The Commission published an impact assessment of this on member states, and highlighted a number of options, including relying on member states to impose limits on the number and “intensity” of data storage locations.

In the letter, the groups expressed concerns about the mixture of national regulations requiring different storage terms for different types of data. These can pose a barrier for smaller firms working across the EU, thus undermining the development of the DSM, it claims.

The letter challenged the EC to implement regulations that impose the principle of the free flow of data, removing data location rules across the EU except for exceptional and pre-determined circumstances.