The European Association of Co-operative Banks (EACB) contributed to the discussion on the European Commission’s legislative proposal for a Regulation on “Harmonised rules on fair access to and use of data”, the Data Act.
The EACB supports the Commission’s general principle of facilitating the sharing of data. Sharing should be based on free choice, voluntary and on a contractual basis. We further consider that the Data Act and the upcoming financial data space should be based on the European principles of a market economy with freedom of contract to allow for sustainable business models to develop and a level playing field for all economic actors with a fair business model for all participants.
The Data Act sits between the Data Governance Act and the upcoming sectoral legislation for the financial sector (i.e., the Open Finance Framework). These are two relevant building blocks for establishing key rules and principles for an open data economy that we strongly deem them to be multilateral and cross-sectoral.
The proposal has a big margin for improvement in the various Chapters. There are elements that need to be better developed and clarified such as the connected products in scope, some of the definitions (e.g., data holder and public emergency), obligations in Business-to-government (B2G) data sharing or the boundaries between personal and non-personal data. With regard to the latter, in the data sharing area in general and, in particular, in the use of and access to data generated by connected products, a clear distinction between personal data and non-personal data as well between data observed/provided and data inferred/derived is of paramount importance to avoid different interpretations and consequently application and enforcement of the relevant rules.
Notwithstanding the above, the EACB welcomes the inclusion in the proposal of two key aspects for the relationship between the data holder and the data recipient: The prevention for the data holder of any negative impact on its business opportunities and the compensation for the costs of making data available. We also greet the Commission’s introduction of minimum regulatory requirements of contractual, commercial and technical nature, imposed to providers of cloud, edge and other data processing services, to enable easier switching between such services.
The EACB stands ready to work together with the Commission, the European Parliament and the Council of the EU on the proposal.