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EU to Allow Companies Access to Private Data to Boost Innovation

  • Participating firms need to protect data from foreign access
  • Rules will make it easier to donate personal data for research

The European Union has proposed new rules to allow companies access to public and personal data, an effort to compete with U.S. and Asian giants and encourage innovation in areas like climate change and health.

The rules proposed by the European Commission, the bloc’s executive body, would grant businesses and research organizations access to data normally blocked off due to privacy, commercial confidentiality, or intellectual property rights. It will also make it easier for people to donate their data for non-commercial research.

The bloc’s tough data protection rules, called the General Data Protection Regulation or GDPR, would still apply, and companies and public agencies would need to implement technical solutions to ensure privacy is respected. Personal data, for instance, would need to be anonymized before companies were granted access.