David McAllister MEP: Data Act – who can access and use industry data?
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David McAllister MEP: Data Act – who can access and use industry data?

In February 2022, the European Commission proposed the Data Act, which aims to remove barriers to accessing data for both consumers and businesses. The law will set common European rules for the sharing of data, e.g. that created by connected products or related services (e.g. the internet of things or industrial machines) to ensure fairness. It will also allow public sector bodies to use private data in public emergencies like in the COVID-19 crisis or natural disasters. The European Parliament is due to debate and vote on its position this week. The new legislation will then be finalised after negotiations between Parliament and EU Member States.

The Data Act – new rules on who can access and use industry data – will be a gamechanger for the new data economy and a great opportunity for competitiveness and innovation. The new law will make it easier for users to transfer and control data generated by smart devices like smart home appliances and factory robots. It will also boost development and help create a data-agile ecosystem with access to data currently underused. So far, 80% of industrial data is never used at all.

The EPP Group wants every user to have access to the data produced by connected products and to be able to share it. The EPP Group made sure that intellectual property rights and trade secrets are respected through liability and transparency rules.

A good example: if a farmer is able to access the data produced by connected devices, such as his tractor or irrigation system, he will innovate better and essentially grow more quality food. We want businesses to have more data available and consumers to access it and benefit from it. Thanks to the EPP Group, small and medium-sized enterprises will enjoy advantages under the Data Act in comparison to big enterprises, e.g. with a very favourable compensation regime.

At present, it is not clear who can use and access data generated by connected products. By establishing common European rules, the Data Act will unlock the full potential of the data economy. For example, in the past when you bought a device, you also owned everything that came with it. But now, data makes this more difficult. Who is really in control of the data that you generate with connected objects? We want to do both: give users control and create business opportunities.

The Data Act will give both individuals and businesses more control over their data. The EPP Group is putting the user at the centre. He or she has to have access to the data and be able to share it. Users and businesses will be able to use data currently not accessible to them.