On 9 November 2023, the EU Parliament adopted the Data Act, which marks the final step in the legislative process. This regulation aims to untap the potential of unused industrial data by improving access to data. The adopted text is available here.
Together with the Data Governance Act, the Data Act will ensure that data can flow freely across the EU, boosting the data economy.
The Data Act ensures better access to data in different ways:
- Data generated by connected products or related services (e.g. vehicles, factory robots, smart household appliances or energy producing objects), will have to be made available to users, and in certain cases to third parties, in both B2B and B2C contexts. This will boost the possibilities for other companies to offer new services. For instance, the repair of an IoT device will no longer be limited to manufacturers but may also be carried out by repair services. In the B2B context, horizontal obligations apply when a data holder is obliged to make data available.
- Unfair terms in contracts for access to or use of (all) data between companies, especially SMEs, will not be binding.
- There will be an obligation for data holders to make data available to public sector bodies in cases of exceptional need. This should allow governments rapid access to data, for example in the event of a new pandemic, to respond quickly to an emergency.
- It will be easier to switch between data processing services (e.g. via exit assistance and data retrieval obligations). Interoperability will be improved by introducing European standards and essential requirements for smart data sharing contracts.
Since the Data Act aims to create opportunities for smaller companies, micro and small enterprises are exempted from several of these new obligations.
National regulatory authorities will oversee the enforcement of the Data Act.
The Council will now formally approve the Data Act, after which it will be officially published. The Act will then enter into force on the 20th day after publication and will apply 20 months after its entry into force.