Business organizations: Europe's industry needs more security
Data sharing will be central to the success of the European economy in the coming years, with data contributing to at least €1 trillion by 2030. But the Data Act as it stands is a giant leap into the unknown that touches the fundamentals of the data-driven business models of European companies, with only the promise of a better data-driven future. This is explained in their joint statement of the major European industry associations, joined by BusinessEurope, on the Data Act.
As the policymaking process accelerates on this major proposal, industry is warning of possible unintended economic consequences across data value chains.
At a time of major economic turmoil, record high energy prices, and the negative impact of pandemic and war on global supply chains, what the industry needs to succeed is stability, not more uncertainty. Before opening Pandora's box, the Data Act rules need to be tried and tested in real market conditions to make sure they work for European businesses.
The opposite result will be achieved if the Data Act rushes to impose widespread data sharing on unsuspecting businesses already overwhelmed by an unprecedented amount of new regulations.
The European Parliament and the Council should devote sufficient time to preserve European innovation and competitiveness. In particular, they must ensure that the proposal:
Protect trade secrets, safety, security and confidentiality by including effective safeguards to prevent data misuse and unfair competition;
It gives companies certainty about whether and what they need to share, starting with clearly defining definitions, e.g. "data" and "data owner";
Enables companies to find mutually beneficial relationships based on data, such as by recognizing the centrality of flexible contract terms, including on compensation;
Distinguishes between business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) contexts and provides different rules and safeguards accordingly;
Set strict conditions for business-to-government (B2G) data requests and limit their scope to emergency situations to avoid endless litigation and uncertainty for member states;
Promotes the deployment of cloud technologies through an applicable and adaptable switching framework that reflects technical reality and market needs and provides legal clarity;
It does not create new obstacles to international data flows, which are critical to the operation and growth of European companies in external markets;
It allows for a longer transition period of at least 36 months to give businesses time to prepare and is not applied retroactively to ensure predictability of ongoing investments.
We believe that EU policymakers will take the time to build a framework that supports a European economy built on data.