EU Data Act aims to create fair digital economy
By ECCT staff writers
The European Commission has proposed new rules on who can use and access data generated in the EU across all economic sectors. According to a news release on Europa, the EU’s official website, the Data Act will ensure fairness in the digital environment, stimulate a competitive data market, open opportunities for data-driven innovation and make data more accessible for all and will lead to new, innovative services and more competitive prices for aftermarket services and repairs of connected objects. The act is part of the European Commission's data strategy and will play a key role in the digital transformation, in line with the 2030 digital objectives.
The proposal for the Data Act includes:
Measures to allow users of connected devices to gain access to data generated by them, which is often exclusively harvested by manufacturers; and to share such data with third parties to provide aftermarket or other data-driven innovative services. It maintains incentives for manufacturers to continue investing in high-quality data generation, by covering their transfer-related costs and excluding use of shared data in direct competition with their product.
Measures to rebalance negotiation power for SMEs by preventing abuse of contractual imbalances in data sharing contracts. The Data Act will shield them from unfair contractual terms imposed by a party with a significantly stronger bargaining position. The commission will also develop model contractual terms in order to help such companies to draft and negotiate fair data-sharing contracts.
Means for public sector bodies to access and use data held by the private sector that is necessary for exceptional circumstances, particularly in case of a public emergency, such as floods and wildfires, or to implement a legal mandate if data are not otherwise available. Data insights are needed to respond quickly and securely, while minimising the burden on businesses.
New rules allowing customers to effectively switch between different cloud data-processing services providers and putting in place safeguards against unlawful data transfer.
In addition, the Data Act reviews certain aspects of the Database Directive, which was created in the 1990s to protect investments in the structured presentation of data. Notably, it clarifies that databases containing data from Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices and objects should not be subject to separate legal protection. This will ensure they can be accessed and used.
Consumers and businesses will be able to access the data of their device and use it for aftermarket and value-added services, like predictive maintenance. By having more information, consumers and users such as farmers, airlines or construction companies will be in a position to take better decisions such as buying higher quality or more sustainable products and services, contributing to the Green Deal objectives.
Business and industrial players will have more data available and benefit from a competitive data market. Aftermarkets services providers will be able to offer more personalised services, and compete on an equal footing with comparable services offered by manufacturers, while data can be combined to develop entirely new digital services as well.
Today, in support of the European strategy for data, the Commission has also published an overview of the common European data spaces that are being developed in various sectors and domains.