The European Data Act proposal

On 23rd February 2022, the European Commission published a proposal for a regulation on harmonized rules on fair access to and use of data, also known as the Data Act.

In the context of the European Strategy for Data, the proposed Data Act complements the Data Governance Act with the aim to unblock the potential of the data economy in Europe. The Data Act clarifies who can use and access data generated in the EU across all economic sectors, while the Data Governance Act creates the processes and structures to facilitate the data sharing.

The Data Act proposal tackles the sharing of data horizontally by setting up rules for the use of data generated by connected products (IoT objects) able to produce and communicate data. Sectoral legislation for specific data spaces (including data spaces for manufacturing and construction) is expected to be published by the Commission in the coming months.

The proposal is built on two main pillars: mandatory data sharing in Business-to-Business (B2B) and Business-to-Consumer (B2C) context on the one side, and mandatory data sharing in Business-to-Government (B2G) relations on the other.

The main novelties introduced under the proposed Data Act:

  • New obligations on “data holders” (such as equipment manufacturers) to make the data generated by the machine available to “users” (such as contractors) free of charge;
  • Limitation for data holders to re-use data (on the basis of mandatory contractual agreement with users);
  • Contractual terms (i.e. compensation, technical safeguards, liability, remedies) can be agreed with third parties subject to an “unfairness” test;
  • New obligation on data holders to disclose data to public bodies in case of “exceptional need”, identified according to a broad list of exceptional circumstances.

The legislative process has already started within the Council at the Working Party level, while a first exchange of views on the proposed working Data Act is expected to take place in the context of the next Telecommunications Council meeting (scheduled for 3 June 2022). At the European Parliament, the lead committee on this will ITRE, with involvement of the IMCO & JURI as well. 

CECE is closely monitoring the legislative developments in order to identify the impact of the Commission’s proposal on the construction machinery sector.

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