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On June 27, 2023, the Council and the European Parliament reached a Political Agreement (“Political Agreement”) on the Proposal for a Regulation on harmonized rules on fair access to and use of data (the “Data Act”). The Data Act aims to “ensure fairness in the digital environment, stimulate a competitive data market, open opportunities for data-driven innovation and make data more accessible for all” and was initially proposed by the European Commission on February 23, 2022.

The Political Agreement introduces a number of changes to the original Commission Proposal on the Data Act, including:

  • Clarification of the scope of the Data Act, allowing users of connected devices, ranging from smart home appliances to smart industrial machinery, to gain access to data generated by their use. For data collected through IoT products, the Political Agreement switches the focus from the connected devices themselves to the functionalities of the data collected by these devices;
  • More detailed rules on the interplay between the Data Act and other European legislation, in particular the Data Governance Act and the GDPR;
  • Further protection for trade secrets and intellectual property rights;
  • The inclusion of additional guidance regarding the reasonable compensation owed for data sharing and provision of mechanisms to solve disputes; and
  • Reinforced measures against unfair contractual terms that are unilaterally imposed.

A formal vote both in the Council and European Parliament will follow this Political Agreement. The Data Act will become fully applicable 20 months after its entry into force.

Read the Council’s press release on the Political Agreement.