On 23 February 2022, the European Commission presented its Proposal for a Regulation on harmonised rules on fair access to and use of data (the Data Act). The Data Act is intended to maximise the value of data in the European Union economy “by ensuring that a wide range of stakeholders gain control over their data and that more data is available for innovative use”.
The proposal for the Data Act includes extensive obligations for business-to-consumer, business-to-business, and business-to-government data sharing and sets up rules on who can use and access what data for which purposes across all economic sectors in the EU. It will regulate the sharing of both personal and non-personal data and will apply to a wide range of stakeholders, including data holders, cloud and edge service providers, and manufacturers of connected products and related services.
The proposal for the Data Act lays down harmonised rules on reinforced data portability by:
- Making data generated by the use of connected products or related services available to the user of these products or services
- Making data available by data holders to data recipients
- Making data available by data holders to public sector bodies or EU institutions, agencies or bodies in exceptional situations, such as natural disasters, subject to specific conditions
In addition, it seeks to rebalance the negotiating power of small and medium-sized enterprises by preventing the abuse of contractual imbalances in data sharing contracts.
The Data Act is part of the overall European strategy for data, and complements the Data Governance Regulation of November 2020 designed to facilitate data sharing across sectors and EU Member States, by clarifying who can create value from data and under which conditions. It remains to be seen how the Data Act will interact with other existing legislative instruments and initiatives dealing with data, such as the Digital Markets Act and the Platform-to-Business Regulation.
The European Commission’s press release can be found here.
The Factsheet on the Data Act can be found here.
The full text of the Data Act can be found here.