Skip to content

EU’s new Data Act will grant people more control over their data

  • by
  • 3 min read

The European Parliament and the Council of the EU have recently reached a provisional agreement on a new Data Act, marking a significant step towards regulating the use and access of consumer and corporate data within the bloc.

EU industry chief Thierry Breton praised the agreement as a “milestone in reshaping the digital space” that would foster an innovative and open EU data economy on the bloc’s terms.

The main objective of the legislation is to empower end users in the EU with greater control over the data generated when using connected devices. This includes granting users access to data generated by smart objects, machines, and devices, allowing them to share it with external parties if they choose to do so, as highlighted in a press release from the European Commission, which proposed the act last year.

The preliminary agreement encompasses several key provisions. It introduces new freedoms to facilitate data movement between different cloud providers, encourages the development of interoperability standards, and enables public sector bodies to access and utilise data for managing public emergencies. Additionally, the legislation incorporates safeguards to prevent unauthorised data transfers.

However, concerns have arisen regarding the potential for trade secrets to be leaked as a result of companies being compelled to share data. In response, the legislation includes measures that allow companies to decline data-sharing requests if they anticipate “serious and irreparable economic losses.”

Regarded as the final and potentially most significant part of the EU’s digital transformation, the Data Act is one of the five legislative initiatives aimed at revamping the bloc’s digital regulations.

Alongside the Digital Markets Act, Digital Services Act, Artificial Intelligence Act, and Data Governance Act, it seeks to modernise and harmonise the EU’s digital landscape.

While the provisional agreement is a crucial step forward, the Data Act must now undergo formal approval from both the Council and the European Parliament before becoming law. Companies will then have approximately 20 months to comply with the regulations, suggesting that it will be a couple of years before the full impact of the Data Act is realised.

The Act’s comprehensive provisions, including user control, data sharing frameworks, and safeguards for economic losses, aim to strike a balance between data privacy and fostering a thriving EU data economy.

EU is actively engaging with the tech giants lately. From filing an antitrust complaint against Google’s ad business to ordering Google and Facebook to label AI content, the EU is taking no chances. In March this year, the EU forced Meta to let users opt out of some ads. This opens a new avenue for other governments to follow on a similar path.

In the News: Google misled video advertisers on ad viewership: Report


Kumar Hemant

Deputy Editor at Candid.Technology. Hemant writes at the intersection of tech and culture and has a keen interest in science, social issues and international relations. You can contact him here: [email protected]