end information exclusivity

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Europe wants to end the exclusivity of information. With the new Data Law, the European Commission has submitted today his proposal to establish new rules on who can use our data, access it and for what purposes. A regulations that not only apply to technology companiesbut to all those who use the data, from automobile companies to pharmaceutical companies or agri-food companies.

The Data Law includes several measures, including the force companies to share their data with third parties. Some data that, according to their calculations, will have a world volume in 2025 of up to 175 zettabytes. A huge amount, five times more than in 2018.

As we can already anticipate, this data is very valuable for all types of companies. According explains the Commission, real-time data analysis allows sectors such as transport, construction and industry to save up to 20%. The data is a manna for the economy and from the European Union they have presented a new law to specify once again how things should be done on European soil.

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What benefits will this new Data Law have for the user

The Data Law (2022) is an advance with respect to the Data Governance Law of 2020, which, although it established some points to facilitate the exchange of data, was not as ambitious.

The ‘Data Act’ will allow users have access to the data generated, which is often collected exclusively by the manufacturers. In other words, the law establishes that users must be able to download our data and that this data must be shared with third parties to provide services based on this data.

Let’s take the example of an after-sales or repair service. Currently only the manufacturer can access the data and the other company has no choice but to go through it for repair. With the new Law, the user could request that a cheaper repair service can also access the data. It is not difficult to imagine such a case in mobile repair services (to recover backup copies) or in the car (to keep them in the configuration we had).

Another example of data access is comparison. Currently it is not possible to outsource the analysis of data from different teams since these are only accessible by each of the manufacturers. In the future, according to the Commission, it will be possible to receive personalized advice from a company that collects data from the different teams. Today, for many companies, this data is a competitive advantage. The objective is that one company is not better than another despite the data it has, since in principle these should be shared.

The last case that they explain to us is that of the owner of a bar and the coffee company. Currently only the cafeteria company can access the data of the machine. The idea is that both parties, both the bar owner and the coffee company can access the data collected by the machine.

To what extent will this be fulfilled? Here comes the tricky part. At the moment the Data Law has to be approved by the Council and the European Parliament and there may still be several years to go before its implementation. The document states that “the compensation agreed between a data owner and a data recipient for making data available will be reasonable,” without specifying what data should be shared. A fine line that, as we have already done with the case of Google Analytics, it will foreseeably generate many debates and open cases.

Regarding the impact on the companies themselves, the Commission explains that third parties that have access to this data will be able to compensate the original company. They are also set safeguards to avoid situations where data is used in a way that negatively affects the manufacturer. This includes from use of data to generate a competitor to when this data is used without an adequate basis.

Goodbye abusive clauses and access by public services

In addition to data access and interoperability, the new Data Law deals with other issues. Measures are added to prevent the abuse of “contractual imbalances in data exchange contracts”. Namely, The Data Law will collect that abusive and unfair clauses are not binding. In parallel, the Commission informs that it will present a reference model when creating these privacy policies.

The data that companies have is of great value and in exceptional situations can be considered of public interest. This is the case of floods or forest fires. In these emergency cases, public administrations will be able to access certain company data, under key conditions. It will be necessary to see how this point is defined, since it can be a source of conflict and abuse. One of the examples they place are studies based on location data aggregated during the pandemic, such as the INE study.

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Related to interoperability, the Data Act promotes making it easier to move data and applications (from photo archives to entire business administrations) from one provider to another without incurring costs. In other words, the Data Law establishes that companies must facilitate the transfer of data from one site to another. Call yourself from Google Photos to Amazon or Apple, but not only with the photos but with all kinds of data. We have already seen progress in this direction with protocols like Matter, but there is still a long way to go, for example in voice assistants.

“On a technical level, there is still a lot to be done”

While waiting for a new agreement with the United States like the one pointed out by several experts as a result of the Google Analytics case in France, the European Commission’s proposal goes in line to reinforce the use of the European cloud. The Data Law introduces obligations to prevent our data from being sent to US servers illegally.

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Elena Gila lawyer specialized in Big data, privacy and Data Protection, explains to Xataka that “the standard tries to promote the interoperability of databases, which is key to being able to share data effectively, but does not create an obligation. It is a purpose that is already contained in other regulations, such as those of personal data. On a technical level, at the moment there is a lot to improve.”

“This is one more piece of the regulatory puzzle with which the EU intends to update its legislation to promote innovation and protect the rights of citizens. Given the avalanche of new regulations, guidelines and resolutions, how this works in practice is something that can only be seen over time“, anticipates Gil. The European Commission is aware of the impact of data on the economy and this Data Law is one more movement to control it. We will see if this complex regulation is implemented and if it really gets large companies to change the way they manage our data.

Image | bernard hermann

Europe wants to end the exclusivity of information. With the new Data Law, the European Commission has submitted today his…

Europe wants to end the exclusivity of information. With the new Data Law, the European Commission has submitted today his…

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