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Digital Clearing House (DCH)

Abstract

With the rapid digitalization, the economy and the society, the development of big data and algorithmic decision-making, firms are increasingly relying on users tracking and profiling.  In such a scenario, consumers experience an imbalance when facing web-based services and possibly a diminishing quality of the safeguards for their rights.  Currently, digital markets and data are subject to many rules (some are horizontal such as those ensuring data protection, consumer protection or competition while others are sector-specific, in particular in the financial, health, telecom or energy sectors) with a strong tendency to apply them in silos. For the balanced development of this data society, those rules need to be appropriate to the technology developments and applied in an effective and coherent manner.

This is why the European Parliament has adopted on 14 March 2017 a resolution on 'fundamental rights implications of big data: privacy, data protection, non-discrimination, security and law-enforcement' which included a call for "closer cooperation and coherence between different regulators” and endorsed “the establishment and further development of the Digital Clearinghouse  as a voluntary network of enforcement bodies can contribute to enhancing their work and their respective enforcement activities and can help deepen the synergies and the safeguarding of the rights and interests of individuals".

In light of this, the EDPS proposed the establishment of a Digital Clearing House to bring together agencies from the areas of competition, consumer and data protection willing to share information and discuss how best to enforce rules in the interests of the individual.

The parties intend to follow the call of the Parliament and set up a Digital Clearinghouse platform in order to facilitate cooperation, dialogue and exchange of best practices between authorities to achieve a coherent enforcement of laws and a better protection of the citizens in a big data and Artificial Intelligence era.

The Digital Clearing House (DCH) Project consists in organizing a series of closed roundtables between the authorities and invited experts from the universities, the civil society and industry as well as two public international conferences. An effective communication will ensure the dissemination of the output of those roundtables and conferences and its impact on policy enforcement and development. Before its end, the DCH Project will also discuss with the participants of the DCH different governance and financing models to ensure the long term sustainability of the DCH.

For more info, visit the project website...

The partners

Professor Alexandre de Streel (CRIDS | NaDI | UNamur) and The Tilburg Institute of Law and Technology (TILT) are best placed to run the Digital Clearing House as they have strong and long experience in academic research for ICT regulation and the two proposed DCH Project directors have already cooperated successfully in the past.

The European Policy Centre (EPC), as one of the best European Think-Tanks based in Brussels, is very well placed to ensure the dissemination and the impact of the work done within the DCH.

Aknowledgements

In order to fund the DCH Project, the University of Namur has applied and obtained funding from Omidyar Network, Foundation Open Science Institute and King Baudouin Foundation on behalf of the partners.