The impact of data flow restrictions on European industry and citizens – sectoral insights

The impact of data flow restrictions on European industry and citizens – sectoral insights

As the data economy grows, every economic sector’s reliance on accessing and utilising data increases. However, restrictions placed on data access and movement across borders risk incurring significant disruptions, operational burdens, and constraints on business expansion for European companies. This ultimately stifles innovation and growth to the detriment of the European economy and society.

The EU has developed strong data governance frameworks to protect citizens and enhance innovation and competition for researchers and businesses, including the GDPR, Data Governance Act, and Data Act. However, the invalidation of the EU-US Privacy Shield by the CJEU has made it challenging for companies to rely on alternative mechanisms for transferring data from the EU to the US. President Biden signed the US Executive Order on Transatlantic Data Transfers to ensure standards required for the EU-US Data Privacy Framework.

The European Commission has issued its draft adequacy decision concluding the renewed US legal framework for data handling and protection provides comparable safeguards to those provided in the EU. An urgent need exists to clarify the EU legal framework for data while upholding the level of data protection offered by the GDPR. The paper focuses on four case studies in the healthcare, national security, travel and tourism, and automotive sectors to highlight the real operating challenges and economic threat faced by entities if the uncertain data governance regime in the EU continues.

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