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Data economy guru: Europe and Estonia are ahead of the rest of the world

17.07.2017
Digital Single Market Conference 2017 on the free movement of data
Digital Single Market Conference 2017 on the free movement of data

The creation of a digital single market in Europe is one of the priorities of the Estonian Presidency of the Council of the EU, but it cannot be created without the free movement of data between Member States. Professor Alex Pentland (MIT), one of the most influential data scientists in the world, said today at the Digital Single Market conference that the European and Estonian data economy is ahead of the rest of the world.

"Estonia is leading a very substantial debate on the free movement of data. The free movement of data will lead to new business opportunities and create a favourable ground for harmonising social inequalities. It is also essential to make governments more efficient," said Alex Pentland, data economy guru and Professor at MIT, in his speech.

"We must not forget that the free movement of data has its perils as well. Ensuring the privacy of personal data is very important in moving and sharing of large amounts of data," said Pentland. "The value of data will grow exponentially even if we can compare it anonymously. Comparing data is beneficial for example for the better planning of public transport, the detection of infectious disease epidemics, and much more, helping countries better manage their processes and predict potential problems."

The first digital event of the Estonian Presidency, the Digital Single Market conference, brought to Tallinn today a total of almost 500 companies and representatives of the public sector from 31 countries around the world. The Competitiveness and Telecommunications Ministers of the Member States, MEPs from the European Commission and the European Parliament, as well as High Representatives of the Council of the European Union, are all present.

The conference will focus on one of the most important digital themes, the free movement of data. The free movement of data means that in the future EU Member States will share information between one another across borders, which will make the lives of ordinary citizens easier and will open doors for entrepreneurs.

One of the key speakers of the conference is MIT Professor Alex Pentland, who is considered to be one of the most influential visionary and researcher in the field of data economy. Expert panellists of the conference, Yves-Alexandre de Montjoye (Imperial College London) and Wojciech Wiewiorowski (Deputy Director of the European Data Protection Supervisor) and others address the bottlenecks in the EU data economy and open up cards for further EU plans for data sharing. Additionally, the conference showcases Antoine Aubert, a representative for the well-known sharing economy enterprise Uber, who speaks about his experience of how sharing their data with other companies, has helped Uber grow into a global service provider.

Information for journalists:

The press conference on the Digital Single Market Conference will be held on the day following the conference, July 18, at 16.30 together with the press event for the informal meeting of Competitiveness and Telecommunications Ministers. The press conference will be attended by Andrus Ansip, Vice-President of the European Commission, Kadri Simson, Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure, Urve Palo, Minister of Entrepreneurship and Information Technology, and Siim Sikkut Deputy Secretary General for Communications and State Information Systems.

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