lunes, 12 de mayo de 2014

The fifth pillar of the EU single market

In past posts of this blog, I have mentioned Carre de Malberg. To make a long history short, he was a French jurist from the 19th century who established the basis of the definition of a modern state as a political community that shares a territory and has its own organisation. My point of view is that if he has lived nowadays, he would have enlarged the definition including digital data as the fourth element of a modern state jointly with community, territory and organisation.

Apart from being the fourth element of a modern state, it is well known the economic value of digital data (public and private data). Much has been said about that value, but I do not remember reading about which are the factors on which the amount of basic digital data that could be generated by a political entity depends. Perhaps because they are so clear: Number of People, GNP and geographic extension. Of course, you need the technology for it, but if you do not have something to describe (data) you do not need a pen to write about it (technology). And thanks to the combinatorial effect, the more basic digital data you are able to generate the more digital data you will create and the bigger the economic value you will be able to create.

From the above point of view, basic digital data provides a new value to the European Union. The combinatorial effect of the digital data (public and private) that could be generated in the Union is an untapped economic resource. Unfortunately, there is a big barrier we need to overcome: the free flow of digital data in the Union. It is not only a problem personal data protection, there are other sectorial constraints to the circulation of digital data that have their origin in the concept of data as physical asset. Some of these barriers are legal (for instance, one way or the other, all the EU countries have in their law the interdict that their Public Administration files can be outside the boundaries of their country). 

The main aim of the European Union is the creation of a single market based on the free movement of people, goods, capital and services. In the same way that digital data is the fourth element of a Modern State, it is high time to accept that we should include a fifth pillar to the single market: the free movement of digital data. It would be impossible the creation of the Digital Single Market without this fifth pillar. I would like to see some proposals in this sense in the forthcoming European Elections.

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