Monday, May 27, 2024

Data Act puts obligations, from coffee machines to wind turbines

BRUSSELS, Belgium – The Council has adopted the Data Act, a new rule on fair access to and use of data to make the EU a leader in this industry. The data act puts obligations on manufacturers and service providers to let their users, be they companies or individuals, access and reuse the data generated by the use of their products or services, from coffee machines to wind turbines.

It also allows users to share that data with third parties – for example, car owners could choose in the future to share certain vehicle data with a mechanic or their insurance company.

“Today’s adoption will be a catalyst for a Europe fit for the digital age” stated José Luis Escrivá, Spanish minister of digital transformation.

“The new law will unlock a huge economic potential and significantly contribute to a European internal market for data. Data trading and the overarching use of data will be boosted, and new market opportunities will open to the benefit of our citizens and businesses across Europe.”

The regulation sets up new rules on who can access and use data generated in the EU across all economic sectors. It aims to:

  • ensure fairness in the allocation of value from data among actors in the digital environment
  • stimulate a competitive data market
  • open opportunities for data-driven innovation, and
  • make data more accessible to all

The new law also aims to ease the switching between providers of data processing services, puts in place safeguards against unlawful data transfer and provides for the development of interoperability standards for data to be reused between sectors.

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The data act will give both individuals and businesses more control over their data through a reinforced portability right, copying or transferring data easily from across different services, where the data are generated through smart objects, machines, and devices. The new law will empower consumers and companies by giving them a say on what can be done with the data generated by their connected products.

The new regulation will allow users of connected devices, ranging from smart household appliances to intelligent industrial machines, to gain access to data generated by their use which is often exclusively harvested by manufacturers and service providers.

Regarding Internet of Things (IoT) data, the new law focuses, in particular, on the functionalities of the data collected by connected products instead of the products themselves. It introduces the distinction between ‘product data’ and ‘related service data’, from which readily available data can be shared.
Trade secrets and dispute settlement

The new law ensures an adequte level of protection of trade secrets and intellectual property rights, accompanied by relevant safeguards against possible abusive behaviour. While fostering the sharing of data, the new regulation aims at supporting the EU industry while providing safeguards for exceptional circumstances and dispute settlement mechanisms.

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