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Free Flow of Data: Good policy, questionable Impact Assessment

April 19th 2018

Data indicate the economic benefits of proposed legislation on free flow of non-personal data in the EU.  However, the European Commission’s Impact Assessment fails to present the case and the relevant evidence has to be carefully extracted from its text and related studies.


The Impact Assessment Institute has scrutinised the European Commission Impact Assessment (IA) on the framework for free flow of non-personal data in the EU.  The IA presents evidence showing the economic benefits of the proposed principles-based policy option.  However, it complements this with many unsubstantiated assertions and speculative calculations, that distract from the relevant analysis.


In particular, the IA frequently uses unrepresentative results of the public consultation to underline its findings.  The methodology used for selecting policy options was poorly designed and executed, resulting in a weak presentation of the main conclusions.


If the IA had focused consistently on the qualitative and quantitative evidence, it would have reached the same policy conclusions with a clearer and stronger substantiation.  It is unfortunate that unnecessary material was included that obscures the relevant analysis and results.

Link to study

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