EC proposes Data Act to regulate access and sharing

Margrethe Vestager, European Commissioner for Competition, has hailed the EC’s proposal for an EU Data Act as “an important step towards the creation of a single European market for data”. First announced two years ago, she said the Act “clarifies who can access and share data, and on what terms.”

The Act will provide legal certainty and remove obstacles to data sharing, Vestager noted that it represents the EC’s second main legislative initiative on data, after the Data Governance Act.

“The aim of all our initiatives is two-fold: We want to unleash the huge benefits that the responsible use of data and digital technologies can bring to every one of us… at the same time, we want safe use of data and technologies”, she observed.

EC aims for balance

The Commission wants to protect fundamental rights and address risks associated with new technologies, Vestager said, including risks to privacy, integrity and mental health. Data is a vital resource for innovation, job creation, competitiveness and economic growth, among other, she added.

Most modern devices generate data and most of it is non-personal and currently unused, she noted, whereas use of this data could provide possibilities for development of new products and services.

“Our data strategy is all about putting such data into productive use, to the benefit of companies and society… but for this to happen, we need to define who has control over such data, and who can use it for what purpose”, she said.

The Data Act will establish a fairness test to help small and medium-sized companies “in situations where there are unfair contractual terms that are unilaterally imposed on them.”

New rules would also allow authorities to force private companies to provide them with data under “exceptional circumstances”, the kind of access that would enable authorities to respond quickly.

The proposal represents “an important step towards a single market for data that empowers people and leads to a fairer allocation of value,” Vestager concluded.


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