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MEPs discuss risks and opportunities of big data

techUK welcome MEPs recognition of the opportunities big data can offer Europe.

On Thursday 23 April the European Parliament Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) Committee discussed the opportunities presented by big data to driving forward Europe's digital economy and the need to ensure consumer rights are maintained in a big data world. As part of a hearing to discuss the Parliament's "Towards a thriving data-driven economy" resolution, MEPs highlighted the need to find the right balance between enabling organsiations, particularly SMEs, to realise the full potential of big data and ensuring consumer rights are protected. Chair of the IMCO Committee and UK MEP Vicky Ford highlighted the benefits that big data can provide to various sectors, including healthcare and transport, but also the importance of addressing data protection and privacy issues. Ensuring EU citizen have clarity on the new rules being proposed in the draft Data Protection Regulation and maintain the ability to manage and control how their data is being used was emphasised as vital moving forward.

techUK welcome MEPs recognition of the opportunities big data can offer Europe and discussion regarding big data's role in driving economic growth, innovation and job creation. Big data offers some of the greatest opportunities for innovation in the new digital world but also presents potential risks and challenges to be addressed by industry and government working together. Addressing concerns relating to the privacy and security of big data will be crucial to ensuring organisations, both in the public and private sector, and consumers have trust and confidence in big data. techUK share the view expressed in the Committee's meeting that Europe should not rush to regulate big data while the market is still maturing and growing. Raising awareness of the value of big data opportunities to organisations, of all size and sector, and identifying innovative solutions to drive the big data market forward will ensure the UK and Europe are positioned to gain the full economic and social potential from what is a fast moving and evolving market.

The IMCO discussion was extremely timely given the European Commission's Digital Single Market (DSM) strategy is due to be released on 6 May. As outlined in techUK's publication 'Creating a Digital Single Market for Jobs and Inclusive Growth' by putting the DSM at the top of its to do list the European Union has an opportunity not just to be a global digital leader in areas such as big data, cloud and Internet of Things, but to put digital leadership at the heart of its strategy for economic growth and social change and to use digital technologies to address the fundamental long-term social and economic challenges that will determine its future.

To watch a video of the IMCO Committee hearing please visit


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