The Future of Data Freedom

Study: Data freedom needs clearer accountability in Estonia

The issue of data freedom needs clearer accountability and advocacy in Estonia, the study “Trends in Access to Public Sector Information” to be presented by the Foresight Centre this Tuesday shows. According to the study, restrictions on public information have increased during the last 20 years.

Avatud tabalukk klaviatuuri tähtedel. Foto FLY:D

“While there is a data protection advocate in the form of the Data Protection Inspectorate, there is no clear data freedom advocate in the national system of Estonia,” expert of the Foresight Centre Johanna Vallistu said. “The result is that restrictions on public information and its use have increased in the last 20 years. For example, the amount of information containing personal data that can be subjected to restrictions for up to 110 years has increased.”

Vallistu underlined that when the national system is lacking a clear advocate and accountability regarding the promotion of data freedom, the result will be increasingly higher restrictions. “On the part of officials, this is humanly understandable behaviour, because if the approach is biased towards data protection, no one wants to take additional and borderline risks,” she said. “However, the result of restricting data freedom is that, for example, it will be impossible to use data to a reasonable extent to promote the economy.”

The presentation of the report “Trends in Access to Public Sector Information” to the press will take place on 18 October at 11 a.m. in the Hall of the Foresight Centre (Toompea 1, Tallinn). The presentation will also be streamed live on the website and Facebook page of the Centre.

The study will be presented by expert of the Foresight Centre Johanna Vallistu and Attorney-at-Law at TRINITI Law Firm Maarja Pild, and commented by the Minister of Justice Lea Danilson-Järg and jurist Kärt Pormeister. If you wish to attend the press presentation, please register at by 3 p.m. on 17 October at the latest.

In 2022, one of the lines of study of the Foresight Centre is focusing on the future of data freedom, examining the key development trends and options in the further development of Estonia’s data economy and data-driven governance until 2035. One component of data freedom monitoring is also the study of the opportunities to use public information, which explores the legal and practical usability of public information in Estonia.

The Foresight Centre is an independent think tank at the Chancellery of the Riigikogu that analyses long-term developments in society and economy. The Centre conducts research projects to analyse the long-term developments in the Estonian society, and to identify new trends and development directions.

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