null Feedback on the European Commission's proposal for a Data Act

Feedback on the European Commission's proposal for a Data Act

The societal importance of data is growing as it has become a key raw material for new business, research and knowledge-based decision-making. Europe’s future success depends to a large extent on how we manage the emerging data society and ensure availability and re-usability of good-quality data for all legitimate purposes. Therefore, CSC warmly supports the Commission’s efforts to create a legislative framework that aims to set fair and transparent rules for data sharing in Europe. This is key for building the trust that is needed as a basis of a functioning data society.

The Commission’s proposal for a Data Act is the latest in a series of proposals aiming to regulate data sharing in Europe. CSC supports the proposal and especially its emphasis on interoperability which must indeed be advanced at all levels (legislative, organisational, semantic, technical) to ensure smooth dataflows between the various actors of data society. However, community-driven self-regulation must remain the preferred method for creating interoperability standards and delegated acts by the Commission must only be used as a last resort.

The Data Act proposal is a good starting point but some clarifications must be made in the course of the legislative process. For example, a definition for operators of data spaces, referred to in Art. 28, must be added. Also, the implications of the Act for scientific research must be clarified and possibilities to improve data access for scientific research and other non-profit purposes explored. For example, by extending the scope of B2G data sharing (Chapter V) to cover more than only exceptional need, more data would become available for the common good, including for scientific research purposes through Art. 21. Also, some of the beneficial treatment guaranteed for micro, small or medium enterprises, such as the compensation policy in Art. 9(2), could be extended to organisations performing scientific research.

CSC fully agrees with the idea of placing users at the core of the data society and therefore warmly supports the attempt of removing unnecessary obstacles for switching between data processing services (Chapter VI). However, the suggested 30-day notice for terminating a data processing service contract may be too short for operators providing substantial cloud resources. Such operators typically have fewer clients than those providing small individual cloud allocations and therefore need more time to accommodate terminations of contracts in their cost calculations. This must be taken into account in further deliberations on the Data Act.