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The EU Proposes a “Data Act”

The European Commission has adopted its proposal for a Regulation on ensuring fairness in the allocation of value across the data economy (‘Data Act’). The proposal sets out rules applicable to device manufacturers, digital service providers, public authorities, and users. The scope of the proposed legislation seems far-reaching and could benefit from further clarification. To ensure legal certainty, the Data Act should provide clear and unambiguous definitions and be fully aligned with existing or upcoming legislation on data sharing such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the Data Governance Act, and the Digital Markets Act.

Our colleagues in Ecommerce Europe are lobbying for the preservation of economic incentives for all market operators to consider the sector-specific characteristics of the several types of actors. It is of particular concern that the EU is imposing one-size-fits-all rules that may result in stifling sectorial competition and arbitrarily hit or benefit one sector over another.

While Ecommerce Europe encourages data sharing between businesses and public authorities for the public interest, they have some concerns regarding the mandatory nature of the data access requirements. Data sharing should occur on a voluntary partnership basis, with a clear and comprehensive list of conditions under which public sector bodies can request such access. This should be included in the legislation.

This is a proposal and will need to go through the EU process before adoption.

Meanwhile, the European Commission has proposed a set of rules that are supposed to protect fair competition within the European Single Market – The Vertical Block Exemption Regulation (VBER). This includes plans to give suppliers the possibility to sell their goods to retailers at different wholesale prices depending on the distribution channel (dual pricing).


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