The European Commission (EC) could subject makers of driverless cars and Internet of Things (IoT) systems to new rules that redefine how they generate data.
The Digitising European Industry - Reaping the full benefits of a Digital Single Market communications document outlined ambitions to work with member states and industry to “examine in greater detail the emerging issues of data ownership, access and re-use rules, including as regards data in an industrial context and especially data generated by sensors and other collecting devices”.
In effect, this means taking a closer look at how data is collected and used with driverless cars and IoT systems.
This will include exploring who owns the data generated by sensors used in industrial situations and how it is used and shared, as well as looking at the safety and liability challenges posed by drones and driverless cars.
Ben Gardner, an expert in autonomous vehicles technology and regulation at law firm Pinsent Masons, explained that the EC’s plans show how it wants to establish an environment where autonomous cars and smart systems are commonplace and can compete with the likes of the US and China.
"However, in order to enable such connected technologies to be adequately tested, developed and commercialised, current regulatory frameworks surrounding, among other things the collection, processing and storage of data, need to be reviewed and brought in line with current technological developments," he said on the law firm's Out-Law blog.
“The EC needs to expedite its efforts in this area to ensure that member states in the EU are considered attractive places to test, develop and commercialise current and future connected technologies.”
The UK government has committed to driverless car development, and the EC’s desire to firm-up rules around testing and the use of data in autonomous systems comes at an apt time.
The document also noted that the EC will set up an initiative on the free flow of data in the European Union to overcome “unjustified localisation requirements” that hamper data ownership, access and re-use across member states.
This could be a response to the EC declaring that Privacy Shield, the deal agreed between the US and the EU to replace the now defunct Safe Harbour agreement, does not offer enough protection in terms of how data is collected, sorted and used.
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