The French Digital Council confirms its position on the free flow of data in Europe

The French Digital Council has issued on April 28th an opinion on the free flow of data in Europe. Following today’s conference in Tallinn on the single digital market, the Council issues two notes that precise its position on both the portability of non-personal data and on the abolishment of data localisation restrictions. The French Digital Council wishes to remind that barriers to data circulation are mainly to be found in lock-in strategies and retention actions among economic actors, rather than in national barriers. The Council considers that the European Commission should primarily pursue the objective of building a framework for the emergence of trust in a data economy that is open, competition-friendly and allows to spread innovation capabilities.


Press release

Abolishing data localisation restrictions  [in German]

Right to non personal data portability  [in German]

Opinion of the french digital council about Free flow of data


Abolishing data localisation restrictions

Two main risks have been identified by the Council. First of all the launch of an initiative that would fail its objective. Only a very small amount of data is in fact affected by legal rules and data localisation is mainly due to user preferences. Second of all, such an initiative might be unconsidered at this stage. It is indeed still necessary to define solid guarantees for data communication and control by public authorities, as well as for the harmonization of security standards. It is necessary to define a global framework, so as to organize a secured free flow of data that is truly favorable to entreprises. In order to do so, the data flows must be integrated into a general framework made of guarantees concerning security standards and access conditions for public authorities.

Right to non-personal data portability

The French Digital Council supports the enshrining of a portability right for non-personal data. In a platform economy, data is at the heart of market power and value-creation. Mastering data notably allows the safeguard of dominant positions on certain markets. In this regard, it seems necessary to create new tools to foster the development of an innovation-friendly European data economy.

The data portability right will enable enterprises to entirely recall the data they generated and stocked and/or processed using a cloud computing service and to transfer it to another service provider. Hence, it is first and foremost a competition and innovation tool for the European cloud market. It also aims at giving companies the control over their data. The right would enable to fight against the negative consequences of lock-in strategies and value losses by allowing the development of internal or of sector-level services. Lastly, thanks to portability new third party services based on the cross-referencing of multiple data sources could be developed.

The Council's work on free flow of data is piloted by Célia Zolynski.


List of persons auditioned:

  • Alban Schmutz, Vice-president, Development and PR, OVH
  • Amélie Perron et Dimitri Petrakis, ‎International Political Affairs et Head of International Affairs, ANSSI
  • Benjamin Jean, CEO, Open Law
  • Bertrand de la Chapelle, Executive Director and Co-founder, Internet and Jurisdiction
  • Carole Ziza-Garat, Co-foundatrice, Telegrafik
  • Edouard Marcus, Sous-directeur des affaires internationales, DGFIP
  • Emilie Dumerain, Déléguée juridique, Syntec numérique
  • Emmanuel Olivier, Président, Ubiant, SBA
  • Fred Potter, PDG, Netatmo
  • Fabrice Coutant, Chef de projet gouvernance des données, Enedis
  • Farice Tocco, Co-Founder, Dawex
  • Francis André, Ingénieur de recherche, CNRS
  • François Pellegrini, Professeur des Universités et Vice-président délégué au numérique à l’université de Bordeaux, et chercheur au Laboratoire bordelais de recherche en informatique et à Inria
  • Geoffrey Delcroix, ‎Innovation & Foresight Project Manager, CNIL
  • Gregory Pescini et Nabil Bouzerna, Juriste et Architecte Plateformes, IRT System X
  • Guillaume Henry, Avocat à la Cour de Paris, docteur en droit et spécialiste en droit de la propriété intellectuelle
  • Guy Mamou-Mani, Co-Président, Groupe Open
  • Jérôme Passa, ‎Avocat à la Cour (Cabinet Passa Varet), agrégé de droit privé, Professeur à l'Université Panthéon-Assas (Paris 2)
  • Jos Poortvliet, Community Manager, Nextcloud
  • Judith Rochfeld, Agrégée des facultés de droit, Professeur à l'École de droit de la Sorbonne, Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne
  • Laurent Cytermann, Maître des requêtes, Conseil d’État
  • Ludovic Le Moan, CEO & co-founder, Sigfox
  • Maxence Demerlé, Délégué général, SFIB
  • Najette Fellache, Fondatrice,
  • Najma Bichara, Rédactrice - aspect réglementaire du numérique, Ministère des Affaires Étrangères
  • Pierre Petillault, Directeur adjoint des affaires publiques, Orange
  • Pierre Trudel, Professeur titulaire au Centre de recherche en droit public (CRDP) de la Faculté de droit de l'Université de Montréal
  • Rand Hindi, Fondateur, Snips
  • Tristan Nitot, Chef de produit, CozyCloud