Cotent Assessment: Considering Cross-Border Data Exchange? The European Interoperability Landscape Report 2022 from NIIS
Information - 95%
Insight - 96%
Relevance - 91%
Objectivity - 92%
Authority - 94%
A short percentage-based assessment of the qualitative benefit of the recently published report by the Nordic Institute for Interoperability Solutions (NIIS) on the European interoperabilty landscape.
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Background Note: Shared for the non-commercial educational benefit of cybersecurity, information governance, and eDiscovery professionals, this recently published report from Nordic Institute for Interoperability Solutions (NIIS) explores and provides valuable insights for policymakers, solution owners, and service providers on the interoperability, extensibility, and sustainability of European cross-border data exchange initiatives and projects.
Report from the Nordic Institute for Interoperability Solutions*
European Interoperability Landscape Report 2022
By Prof. Dr. Robert Krimmer, Prof. Dr. Mihkel Solvak, Art Alishani, Stefan Dedovic, Carsten Schimidt, and Salina Castle
As the course of the digital transformation of European public administrations evolves, the demand for cross-border digital public services is steadily increasing. These deliver different benefits for different stakeholders and improve collaborations and integration of European public administrations. For citizens, cross-border digital services facilitate living, studying, and working in other European countries while having reliable and secure access to digital public services regardless of time and geographic location. Businesses also garner support through cross-border digital public services, especially to facilitate their operations in different European countries, streamlining access to information and competition laws, reducing administrative burden, and backing businesses to unlock new benefits in the Single Market. Cross-border services also add value for public administrations. They enable public organizations to optimize operational costs, provide accessible and quality digital public services, reduce duplication of effort and information and support cross-border mobility (Kalvet et al., 2018).
The delivery of cross-border digital public services is largely dependent on the ability of public administrations and businesses to transfer data across borders. Increased demand for cross-border digital public services increases requests for cross-border data exchange. Therefore, access to trusted, interoperable, and secure data-exchange solutions is essential for delivering cross-border services but is also crucial for establishing the Single Digital Gateway (SDG) and building a functioning European Digital Single Market (DSM).
The Member States (MS) face different challenges related to legal, technical, organizational, and semantic barriers. Legal barriers are mainly the heterogeneity of national legal frameworks, together with privacy and data protection concerns. On the other hand, an organizational perspective addresses obstacles and barriers concerning the complexity and costs of deployment and maintenance of cross-border solutions and the tendency to cooperate with neighboring countries. Organizations in charge of implementing cross-border data-exchange solutions and services in general function on a non-profit basis, as the benefits of cross-border are collective and gained by the public administrations or society as a whole. Technical and semantic barriers, inter alia, are the existing heterogeneity of technical infrastructures and metadata and data types included in base registries.
The current landscape of European cross-border data exchanges also continues to be heterogeneous. Numerous projects, alliances, and partnerships have been implemented to explore and develop different solutions that would support the creation of an interoperable future for Europe. So far, there is often a lack of a clear understanding of cross-border data exchange initiatives, especially with regard to different roles, specifications, and technological differences between them. To this end, this present study starts by mapping various cross-border data exchange initiatives in Europe and develops an initial inventory of cases. For each initiative, it analyses the status of their adoption and investigates different aspects of the cross-border data exchange solutions covering related to legal, commercial, and technical specifications. Findings from this study could provide valuable insights for policymakers, solution owners, and service providers as it informs them about the interoperability, extensibility, and sustainability of European cross-border data exchange initiatives and projects.
Findings – Data Exchange Solutions (Extract)
X-Road® is an open-source data exchange layer software that provides secure and unified data exchange between organizations. The key vision of X-Road is to enable distributed, seamless and standardized data exchange among organizations, primarily for national data exchange purposes. One of the main ideas of X-Road is that it enables data exchange between organizations from different sectors (private, public, non-profit) and different policy domains (i.e. justice, health, transport). Key principles that X-Road supports are that it is digital public good, open-source software, a versatile security solution, it supports the once-only principle, it is a scalable solution, and it provides a flexible implementation.
Initially, X-Road was developed in Estonia in the early 2000s and became a backbone of the Estonian digitalization of public services. As an Estonian national data-exchange solution, this solution is mainly used in Estonia for the purpose of providing digital services to Estonian residents. However, after political consultations and agreeing on cooperation with Finland in 2013, these two countries agreed to collaborate further in the field of digitalization. This agreement resulted in the creation of the Nordic Institute for Interoperability Solutions (NIIS) which has been responsible for the technical development and general management of the X-Road source code since 2017 (X-Road® History, n.d.). The aim of this institute is to ensure the quality, sustainability, and cross-border capability of core digital government infrastructure components, according to the Memorandum of Association of NIIS signed by Ministers of Finland and Estonia (X-Road® History, n.d.). In addition to Estonia and Finland, the Republic of Iceland also joined NIIS as a partner in 2019 and as a member in 2021.
NIIS Interoperability Landscape Report 2022
*Shared as a public report for non-commercial educational use.
Reference: Robert Krimmer, Mihkel Solvak, Art Alishani, Stefan Dedovic, Carsten Schmidt, Salina Castle (2022) “European Interoperability Landscape Report “. Nordic Institute for Interoperability Solutions (NIIS), Tallinn.
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