Global data meet EU rules

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Science  04 May 2018:
Vol. 360, Issue 6388, pp. 467
DOI: 10.1126/science.aat9878

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We are at the beginning of the “fourth industrial revolution,” with unprecedented capabilities to acquire, process, and communicate data. As with all revolutions, it holds great promise as well as dangers. Outrage at large-scale privacy breaches demonstrates the perils of taking protection of personal data lightly and reminds us that technological progress challenges policies, values, and approaches to ethics. The European Union (EU) General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that takes effect on 25 May offers never-before-seen protections and control by individuals of their personal data, including many provisions for research. Although this should increase public trust and therefore propensity to share data, many implementation details and safeguards have yet to be established. It is clear, however, that interoperability of policies will be essential to promote data sharing across research communities within the EU and globally.