Economy: How to harness the potential of public sector data for the benefit

How to harness the potential of public sector data for the benefit of the economy

Assonime has published circular no. 7 of 15 February 2022 entitled “Public sector data: legal framework, PNRR, and transposition of the Open Data Directive “ focusing on a particular profile of data policy, that of enhancement of public sector data assets.

Assonime believes that the information available to the public sector represents one extraordinary source of data, in many sectors of activity (information of a social, political, economic, legal, geographical, environmental, meteorological, seismic, tourism, business, patent, education, etc.) nature. Create the conditions for the reuse of this informationwhile respecting fundamental rights, it can allow citizens and businesses to find new ways of using them e create innovative products and services.

Favor interoperability and sharing of data between public administrations is necessary to simplify the relations of administrations with citizens and businesses, avoiding duplication of obligations and ensuring the application of ‘once only’ principleaccording to which if information is in the possession of a public administration it cannot be requested again from the citizen or the company.

The circular is divided into three parts:

the first part analyzes the situation in Italy with regard to the information assets of the public administration, the indications on the subject of data contained in the three-year plan for information technology in the 2021-2023 administration and the commitments undertaken in the PNRR over the broader horizon up to 2026;

the second part illustrates how the framework of the rules on public sector data contained in the Digital Administration Code (legislative decree no. 82/2005) has been modified and supplemented by decree law no. 76/2020, n. 77/2021 and n. 152/2021, to favor the rationalization of information assets public and simplify its use;

the third part illustrates the innovations introduced with the implementation in Italy of the ‘open data’ directive of 2019, through the legislative decree 8 November 2021, n. 200.

Open Data Directive

The new Open Data Directive (Directive (EU) 2019/1024) aims, also in the light of developments in digital technologies, to ensure the better exploitation of information potential of the public sector to the benefit of the European economy and societies.

The main purposes of the new rules concern:

– the granting of real-time access to dynamic data by appropriate technical means;

– increasing the supply of public data for re-use, including from public enterprises, research organizations and research funding organizations;

– the contrast of the emergence of new forms of exclusive agreements;

– the use of exceptions to the principle of pricing at marginal costs; better coordination with other related European regulatory acts, including regulation (EU) 2016/679 (GDPR) and directives 96/9 / EC, relating to the legal protection of databases, 2003/4 / EC on access of the public to environmental information and 2007/2 / EC establishing an Infrastructure for Spatial Information in the European Community (INSPIRE).

One of the main innovations of the 2019 directive is the provision of an information category, high-value datasets or high-value data series whose reuse is “associated with important benefits for society, the environment and the economy, in particular in view of their suitability for creating value-added services and applications and new decent and high-quality jobs, as well as the number of potential beneficiaries of the services and value-added applications based on these data series “. For high-value datasets, the rule is that public bodies and public enterprises make the data available for free in a machine-readable format, through APIs throughout the European Union and allow, when relevant, bulk extraction.

It is expressly provided that the obligation to provide data free of charge does not apply in cases that would involve a distortion of competition in the market. Presumably, the impact assessment by the Commission will also have to consider whether access should be granted on a selective rather than generalized basis due to the risk of misuse (misuse) of data such as high-precision terrestrial data from bad actors.

In the transposition of the directive, Italy has taken into account that in a number of areas there are protection needs, public rights and interests that prevail over the objective of promoting greater availability of data for re-use by individuals and legal entities. For this reason, the legislative decree n. 36/2006, in line with the European directive, expressly indicates a series of documents to which the discipline does not apply and expressly without prejudice to a series of regulations, namely:

– the regulations for the protection of personal data,

– the discipline of copyright,

– the rules on access to administrative documents,

– the provisions on industrial property.

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