29 March 2022

On 29 March, EIF organised a debate, hosted by MEP Pilar del Castillo, to discuss if and how the Data Act measures on B2B and B2C data sharing can lead to fairness and innovation in a competitive data market. The MEP was joined by the following guest speakers:

Yvo Volman, acting Director for Data, DG CNECT, European Commission
Lise Fuhr, Director General, ETNO
Patrick Grant, Senior Digital Policy Manager from the EU Affairs Office, Samsung Electronics

The Data Act, a path to a fair and innovative data economy?

MEP and EIF Chair Pilar del Castillo set the scene by stating that data is a key pillar of the European digital economy and that data collaboration within and across Europe's industry will be key to future innovation and economic growth. The Data Act can contribute to increasing and creating a data agile ecosystem that enables easy access to a huge amount of high-quality industrial data. She also highlighted – in terms of digital infrastructure development and interoperability – the importance of measures entrusted to improving portability for business users of cloud services. MEP del Castillo concluded by mentioning the three pillars of the Data Act: 1) How the Data Act measures on B2B and B2C data sharing can contribute to a competitive data market; 2) The provisions are set in a framework for B2G data sharing in cases of exceptional need; 3) How the proposal addresses cloud switching and international transfers.

The European Commission representative, Yvo Volman, affirmed that the vision behind the Data Act is to create a genuine Internal Market where data can flow across the member states and sectors. The main goal of the Data Act is to ensure fairness in the allocation of data value among the various actors in the data economy. Mr Volman specified that fairness means finding the right balance between granting more access to the data to a wider group of people and organisations while preserving incentives for the manufacturers to invest. The Data Act aims to provide clear rules on data, access, and use, and to allow stakeholders to gain control over the data they generate. He also highlighted the importance of balancing interests between the public and private sector. Yvo Volman concluded by stressing that “thanks to the Data Act, by 2028, we expect the European GDPR to increase by €270 billion”.

Lise Fuhr, Director General of ETNO, opened her speech by declaring that, as a telecom operator, welcomed the Data Act. She added that “facilitating the sharing and the usability of data is the cornerstone of the telecom sector's idea of digital leadership in Europe”. Connectivity is a priority for Europe as much as digital targets for 2030, gigabit for everyone, and 5G everywhere. According to her, 5G will enable the rapid growth of the Internet of Things (IoT). As a result, the number of active IoT connections in Europe is set to double by 2026 and reach 854 million connections by 2029. Ms Fuhr stated that the Data Act also addresses the data sharing from B2G with obligations to share data in some exceptional situations, such as public emergencies. She concluded by underlining that for a B2G collaboration to thrive, it is crucial that data sharing agreements are mutually beneficial and incentivize investment and innovation in these services.

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