Comment on European Commission blueprint on digital future

Feb. 19, 2020

PRESS RELEASE FROM THE OPEN KNOWLEDGE FOUNDATION

EMBARGO: IMMEDIATE

NEW BLUEPRINT: SHAPING EUROPE’S DIGITAL FUTURE

  • Open Knowledge Foundation welcomes blueprint for Europe’s digital
    future
  • Major plan to accelerate AI and use data for the public good.
  • Warning that the UK risks being left behind.

The European Commission has today unveiled its long-awaited blueprint on shaping Europe’s digital future.

The White Paper on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the European data strategy includes ideas and actions for a digital transformation that is open and works for all.

Over the next five years, the Commission will focus on three key objectives in digital: technology that works for people; a fair and competitive economy, and an open, democratic and sustainable society.

In the White Paper presented today, the Commission aims to accelerate deployment of AI, including by smaller and medium-sized enterprises, and working with Member States and the research community to attract and keep talent in the EU.

On the issue of data, the separate report explains that data can solve problems from traffic jams to disaster relief, but European countries are not yet using this data to its full potential. It calls for more business-to-government data sharing for the public interest.

The Commission states that citizens, businesses and organisations should be empowered to make better decisions based on insights gleaned from non-personal data, and the data should be available to all.

The White Paper on AI is now open for public consultation and the Commission is gathering feedback on the data strategy, with a Digital Services Act and a European Democracy Action Plan planned for later this year.

The Open Knowledge Foundation, which campaigns for a fair, free and open digital future, has enthusiastically welcomed the announcements. It has also warned that the UK risks being left behind.

Catherine Stihler, chief executive of the Open Knowledge Foundation, said:

“This long-awaited blueprint for Europe’s digital landscape is very welcome and a giant step forward for a fair, free and open future.

“This is the greatest opportunity and challenge of our lifetimes.

“AI is going to transform the way we work and live, so it is vital to get it right and ensure that people have the skills to make Europe a world leader in human-centric and ethical AI.

“Today there is so much data that could be used to address the climate crisis, health inequalities and poverty, but we need that data to be open and shared so that it can be used for the public good.

“It’s clear that the European Commission is ready to lead the world when it comes to our digital future.

“This presents a major challenge for the UK following Brexit, and there is now a very real risk of being left behind, with an impact on the economy, jobs and public wellbeing.”

ENDS

NOTES TO EDITORS

https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/qanda_20_264

Contact: Alan Roden at alan.roden@okfn.org or +44 (0)7753 904 531

ABOUT OPEN KNOWLEDGE FOUNDATION

Our vision is for a future that is fair, free and open. Our mission is to create a more open world – a world where all non-personal information is open, free for everyone to use, build on and share; and creators and innovators are fairly recognised and rewarded.

Open knowledge is any content, information or data that people are free to use, re-use and redistribute without any legal, technological or social restriction.

Through teaching, creating and campaigning, we are working for a fair, free and open future for all. For over a decade, we have pioneered openness and data literacy in new areas using technology, training, policy advice and research.

Read more here: https://okfn.org

The Open Knowledge Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation. It is incorporated in England & Wales as a company limited by guarantee, with company number 05133759. Registered office address: 86 - 90 Paul Street, London EC2A 4NE, UK.