“Data is at the core of the digital economy and an essential resource to secure the green and digital transitions.”
With these words, the European Commission opens its new EU Data Act proposal (officially the ‘proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on harmonised rules on fair access and use of data’), launched today, to reshape its data strategy and prepare for the challenges in the years to come.
Among its many objectives is to build trust in the face of the sheer volume of data generated by humans and machines on a daily basis and unlock the potential of data-driven innovation by opening opportunities for the reuse of data and removing barriers to the development of the European data economy.
The proposal deals with data sharing obligations for stakeholders, safeguards for data transfer and regulation of access by public bodies creating harmonised rules for the whole bloc.
At a press conference, commission executive vice president Margrethe Vestager said: “The Data Act defines who can use what data and under what conditions. We want to ensure greater fairness in the allocation of the value created by data. [People are] buying more products that generate data —from smartwatches to connected cars. Currently, it’s mainly the manufacturers of these products who hold and use the data.
“To empower consumers, we want to change this by building data portability. First, consumers will have the right to access all of this data free of charge, and in real-time. Secondly, [they] will have the rights to oblige the manufacturer to share this data with another company: a company that [they] have chosen to provide additional services [such as] maintenance and repairs. This gives [people] greater control over [their] data. It also boosts competition by allowing more companies to offer their services to [consumers].”
The proposals also aim to give SMEs more power to help prevent abuse of contractual imbalances in data sharing contracts and shield them from unfair contractual terms imposed by a party with a significantly stronger bargaining position.
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