Data Protection: Brave new world of data

The European ScaleUp Manifesto pointedly addresses the issue: it is no longer correct to distinguish between the Internet economy and the real economy; the entire economy is digital. And this has a special meaning and implication for one especially important economic input: data. All modern businesses use and run off of data. 

This European Data Economy is meant to create new personalised and enhanced products and services adapted to citizens' and organisations' needs that will respect security and ensure privacy and personal data protection of individuals in the framework of relevant EU rules. We need a favourable European regulatory environment to facilitate the development of a pan-European data market and economy, including access to data and data transfer for new products and services as a means to boost our economy. And we need the technology, technical and interoperability frameworks and the tools to support the application of EU and national rules. 

From a technical perspective data protection and anonymization is still a major issue in the areas of Big Data and data analytics. Data protection, while important in the development of any modern information system, becomes crucial in the context of large-scale sensitive data processing. The further development of privacy-enhancing technologies can be an asset for Europe as this is currently an underdeveloped market and firms operating in the digital economy may realize that investing in privacy enhancing technologies could provide a competitive advantage.[1]

But in this brave new world of data is not all about protection: more and more data will be used to make critical decision in our every day life, and next generation AI-powered decision support systems will need to provide guarantees for decisions they recommend with a strong need to enhance trust and transparency for algorithms and data, on the trusted co-evolution between humans and AI-based systems. [2]

What are the main opportunities, challenges and barriers for innovation in this new European data market and data marketplace? What are the solutions and barriers for SMEs innovating with (personal) data? What is the role of European large industry and telecom operators in this European marketplace and European Data Ecosystem? What is the landscape of technologies and tools to enhance data privacy, transparency and trust? What type of collaboration at local, regional and European level is needed in between the data research, experimental and innovation communities, and the policy and regulatory bodies?

This session brings experts from the data research, experimentation and innovation arena to discuss through different real examples the main innovation and technological challenges and barriers and to co-design a strategy moving forward to further develop the European data ecosystem.

[1] Source: BDVA Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda:
[2] Source: BDVA FP9 position paper

Detailed Workshop Outline



Keynote speaker: Prof. Pieter Ballon (Director, imec-SMIT, VUB): Data and smart cities. The case of Smart Flanders


Presentations and Panel discussion (Moderated by Prof. Pieter Ballon)

Presenters and panellists:
• Irene López de Vallejo, Director of Collaborative research at Digital Catapult: SMEs innovating with (personal) data (Challenges, barriers and needed interventions)
• Nozha Boujemaa, Director of Research, Advisor to the CEO of INRIA in Big Data, INRIA): Technical Insights in the implementation of trust and transparency in data and algorithms.
• Maurizio Cecchi, Manager at Telecom Italia: Telecom operators in the new European Market Place
• Amardeo Sarma, General Manager at NEC Laboratories Europe and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Trust in Digital Life (TDL)


Pieter Ballon

Director imec-SMIT, VUB

Prof Dr Pieter Ballon is Assistant Professor in Communication Sciences at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium. He is the Director of research centre imec-SMIT-VUB, as well as Scientific Director Living Labs at imec, the international research institute for ICT innovation.

Since October 2016, Pieter Ballon is holder of the academic Chair on Smart Cities / Leerstoel Smart Cities at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. He is co-founder of the international Open & Agile Smart Cities (OASC) network. Since 2009, Pieter Ballon is the international Secretary of the European Network of Living Labs (ENoLL). In 2016, Pieter Ballon was nominated the first Brussels Smart City Ambassador by the Brussels Region government.


Inria - Director of research, Advisor to the CEO of Inria in Big Data, Head of TransAlgo, member of BDVA Board of Dorectors

Director of Research at Inria, Advisor to the Chairman & CEO of Inria in Big Data, Project Leader of TransAlgo French scientific platform for algorithmic systems transparency and accountability and from June 2017 Director of Convergence Institute on Data Intelligence, Value & Ethics. Nozha Boujemaa is member of the Board of Directors of BDVA. She is International Advisor for the national Japanese research program (JST) CREST/PRESTO "Core Technologies for Big Data Integration" (2016 – present), Member of the Board of Data Transparency Lab (DTL). Nozha Boujemaa was Director of Inria Saclay Research Center (2010 – 2015) including 30 research groups (500 people) and Head of IMEDIA Inria/Research Group (1999-2010). Her domains of expertise include Machine Learning, Unsupervised & Semi-supervised Learning, Large-scale Multimedia Retrieval, Content Search, Personalization, Pattern and Object Recognition. She authored more than 150 scientific publications and supervised more than 25 PhDs.

Amardeo Sarma

General Manager, Social Solutions Research Division, NEC Laboratories Europe

Amardeo Sarma is General Manager at NEC Laboratories Europe in Germany, where he is responsible for R&D in the areas Security, Smart Transportation, Control and Optimization as well as Internet of Things Platforms. He is Chairman of the Trust in Digital Life Association. Amardeo has published in various areas including software engineering, communication protocols and identity management.
Amardeo has previously held a Chairman position at the ITU-T and is an ACM Member and IEEE Senior Member.
Amardeo holds a Bachelor of Technology degree from the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi and a Master’s degree from Technical University of Darmstadt.

Irene Lopez de Vallejo

Director of Collaborative Research, Regional and International Development at Digital Catapult, London

I have devoted the last 20 years to multidisciplinary applied technology research, in robotics, high-value manufacturing and the Internet of Things. With a background in sociology and architecture, my long-standing passion is to understand the complex relationships underlying society, technology and continuously evolving physical and digital environments. I am at the moment driving the Digital Catapult’s regional and international R&D strategy. The Catapult is an UK organisation, and RTO (Research and Technology Organisation) dedicated to applied research around large-scale digital challenges that are too complex, financially risky or will take too long for market forces alone to deliver
I thoroughly enjoy networking, finding unique people and ideas and bring them together to solving challenges posed by multi-party, multi-country collaborations.
You can find me @ILdeV always #doingseriousfun for life is too short not to!