The European Data Act has officially come into effect, introducing new regulations aimed at fostering a fair and innovative data economy across all sectors. The legislation outlines rights for accessing and utilizing data generated within the EU, with a focus on facilitating the sharing of industrial data. The act aims to create a competitive and innovative data market by providing legal clarity on data usage and defining conditions for value creation. Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice-President for a Europe fit for the Digital Age, emphasized the importance of putting users in control of sharing data from connected devices while protecting trade secrets and privacy rights.
The Data Act addresses the exponential growth of connected devices in the European market, particularly in the Internet of Things (IoT). Users of connected products are granted access to the data generated by these devices, allowing them to share the information with third parties. For instance, owners of connected cars can request manufacturers to share relevant data with a chosen repair service, enhancing consumer control and boosting innovation in aftermarket services. The legislation also provides public sector bodies with access to private sector data during emergencies and legal mandates, promoting collaboration and effective response. Additionally, the Data Act protects businesses, especially small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), from unfair contractual terms in data-sharing agreements, fostering more active participation in the data market.
Furthermore, the legislation promotes competition and choice in the cloud services market by allowing customers to seamlessly switch between different cloud providers. This initiative aims to prevent vendor lock-in and reduce costs for businesses and administrations when transitioning their data and applications to alternative providers. The Data Act includes measures to safeguard against unlawful requests by third-country authorities for accessing non-personal data held in the EU, ensuring a reliable and secure data-processing environment. Finally, the act introduces measures to encourage the development of interoperability standards for data-sharing and data processing services in alignment with the EU standardization strategy.