On 12 January, the European Data Act officially entered into force, ushering in a new era of rules designed to foster fairness and innovation within the digital landscape. The legislation, which defines rights pertaining to access and use of data generated across all economic sectors within the EU, is poised to simplify data sharing, particularly in the realm of industrial data.
Aiming to instil fairness in the digital environment, the Data Act clarifies conditions under which value can be created from data and stimulates a competitive and innovative data market. Notably, the legislation unlocks the vast potential of industrial data, providing legal clarity on its usage and encouraging advancements, particularly in the field of artificial intelligence.
One of the key measures includes granting users of connected products, such as IoT devices, the right to access and share the data generated by these devices. This empowerment of consumers and other users fosters aftermarket services and innovation, giving individuals greater control over their data. Manufacturers are incentivised to invest in data-generating products, with their trade secrets remaining protected.
The Data Act extends its impact to public sector bodies, enabling them to access and use private sector data in emergency situations, such as floods and wildfires, or when mandated by law. Additionally, the legislation protects European businesses from unfair contractual terms in data-sharing agreements, ensuring a level playing field for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the data market.
Furthermore, the Data Act introduces measures to encourage the development of interoperability standards for data-sharing and processing services, aligning with the EU’s standardisation strategy.
The legislation, proposed by the Commission on February 23, 2022, and subsequently receiving political agreement on June 28, 2023, complements the Data Governance Act, which became applicable in September 2023. Together, these acts form essential components of the Commission’s data strategy, supporting the objectives set for the 2030 Digital decade.
Following its entry into force, the Data Act is set to become applicable on September 11, 2025, as Europe takes significant strides towards shaping a fair and innovative data economy.
Find out more on the European Commission’s website.