DigitalizationNew Data Act: Important for consumer data decision-making sovereignty

Today, the European Commission presented a proposal for the Data Act including new rules for the data economy on data-sharing including conditions and protections on data portability and accessibility. The Data Act seeks to regulate who can use, access, and share data generated in the EU and to ensure fairness in the digital environment and make data more accessible for all.

The Data Act forms the last building block of the Commission's data strategy advancing the digital transformation of Europe.

The proposed Data Act is to include the following:

  • Users of connected devices should be allowed to gain access to data generated by them, from which so far often exclusively manufacturers benefit. Users should also be able to share such data with third parties to provide aftermarket or other data-driven innovative services.
  • The abuse of contractual imbalances in the contracts for data sharing should be prevented thereby rebalancing the negotiation power and bargaining position for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
  • In case of exceptional circumstances such as floods, wildfires or other states of public emergency for which prompt data insights are needed, government authorities should be able to access and use data for the private sector. Authorities are also to implement a legal mandate if data are not otherwise available.
  • Customers are to effectively switch between different providers of cloud data-processing services and to be protected against unlawful data transfer.  

Monique Goyens, Director General of the European Consumer Organisation (BEUC), said: "The Data Act is an important piece of the jigsaw to make sure data can be accessed fairly across industries while giving users full power to decide what happens to the data they generate. Beyond providing a framework in which data gets accessed and shared, the EU’s Data Act must complement existing data protection, consumer, and competition rules. It is essential that consumers decide what happens to the data they generate, when they share it and with whom. Consumers should have a simple-to-exercise data portability right, which extends beyond personal data, so that they can for example take all their data from one service to another if they want to. The EU must also ensure that the Data Act does not end up reinforcing Big Tech data monopolies."

Source: EC & BEUC

More information and BEUC press release