06 Oct 2020

Five principles for the industrial data economy

Contractual freedom is essential for the success of the industrial data[1] economy. The road to Europe’s industrial recovery is paved with data. Freedom of contract ensures steady investments into Europe to innovate on data collection and use, creating economic growth and improving sustainability.

DIGITALEUROPE members are committed to implementing the following principles to incentivise the industrial data economy in Europe:

  1. Contractual arrangements between the involved parties conducted in a fair and transparent manner.
  • In principle, each generator of data should be able to decide how to handle the data it generates. This ensures that customers and business partners can determine and control which data is accessed by whom, for what purpose and for how long it is used.
  • The EU should abstain from introducing any industrial data sharing or data localisation obligations. Contractual agreements should continue to define know-how protection and data confidentiality.
  1. Promotion of data security through security by design and security lifecycle management.
  • Basic requirements for the sharing and use of data are:
    • Access that protects against misuse;
    • Secure transfer, processing, storage, and handling of industrial data;
    • Maintenance of industrial data integrity and confidentiality.
  • DIGITALEUROPE members are therefore committed to promoting industrial data security as comprehensively as possible through a holistic approach which includes both security by design in the development phase and security lifecycle management throughout the entire product and data lifecycle (brownfield and greenfield applications).
  1. Portability and interoperability of data to enhance competitiveness.
  • We are committed to achieving data portability through interoperable data formats and information models based on freely accessible standards. This guarantees data usage across different generation and application contexts in parallel, making data exchange or data pooling among different actors possible. Industrial data portability leads to more competition and collaboration.
  1. Promoting transparent operation of industrial digital platforms.
  • We support the provision of suitable opt-in/opt-out functions in order to allow industrial platform users to track-and-control in a differential manner the use and exploration of the data they contributed to in industrial platform operations.
  • An industrial platform interconnects different actors pursuing different interests. This also includes the operator of the platform, which has the task of making these interests as transparent as possible to all industrial platform users. This is particularly the case when the content or functionality of the industrial platform are influenced by the interests of individual actors, such as the order of search results.
  1. Enabling fair competition between digital industrial platforms.
  • We reject any introduction of new data ownership legislation. We are actively committed to fair and innovation-promoting international competition between platforms that would prevent the monopolisation of data in the industrial context.
  • We support designing B2B industrial platforms in a way that prevents the creation of anti-competitive lock-in mechanisms that artificially obstruct users from switching to other platforms. In particular, we support ensuring the migration capability of data and the notion that the simultaneous use of multiple platforms should be made possible.


[1] “We define ‘Industrial Data’ as data derived from machinery and plants in an industrial context in different vertical sectors.

For more information, please contact:
Vincenzo Renda
Associate Director for Digital Transformation Policy
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