Ladies and Gentlemen, The headlines over the past months have been dominated by stories about surveillance. Claims and counter-claims have been made at a dizzying speed. In my dialogues with citizens across the Union, the sense of shock is palpable and the reaction is clear. The revelations over the past months have acted as a wake-up call. People have been reminded of why data protection is important; of why a strong framework for the protection of personal data is a necessity, not a luxury. Trust in the data-driven economy, already in need of a boost, has been damaged.
This is a source of concern because of the potential impact on growth. Collected, analysed and moved, personal data has acquired enormous economic significance. According to the Boston Consulting Group, the value of EU citizens’ data was €315 billion in 2011. It has the potential to grow to nearly €1 trillion annually in 2020. Restoring trust and boosting growth. Two imperatives. Both can be delivered at the same time – through the EU’s data protection reform. Here to read more.