New EU Legislation on Fair Data Access and Use

The Council of the European Union has adopted the Data Act, a pivotal regulation that establishes new standards for accessing and utilizing non-personal data within the European Union. Integral to the EU’s strategy to enhance its digital landscape, the Data Act complements the Data Governance Act adopted in 2022.

The new law aims to promote fair sharing of non-personal data and value generation among private and public entities, as well as individuals. Once officially published within the next few weeks, it will be fully implemented about 20 months thereafter.

The overarching objectives of the Data Act include creating a competitive data market, driving data-driven innovation, enhancing data accessibility, simplifying transitions between data processing services, implementing safeguards against illegal data transfers, and encouraging data reuse across different sectors.

Key aspects of the law include:

  • Focus on Internet of Things (IoT) data generated by various electrical devices equipped with sensors that collect, gather, and process environmental information, clearly distinguishing between product data and related service data.
  • Ensuring adequate protection for intellectual property rights and trade secrets and establishing mechanisms for dispute resolution.
  • Preventing the exploitation by dominant market players and addressing unfair practices in commercial data sharing agreements.
  • Providing additional support to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) facing unfair contracts.
  • Compensating businesses for making their data available to consumers.
  • Enabling public sector bodies to access and use data held by the private sector in emergency situations or for the public good, with stringent conditions for sharing personal data to ensure a balance between public interest and privacy concerns.
  • Highlighting consumer benefits, such as easier switching between cloud providers and more cost-effective after-sale services for devices.
  • Detailing the governance model, including the role of “data coordinators” and the flexibility afforded to member states in implementing the regulation.

Click here to read the Data Act.

Click here to read the Data Governance Act.