The EU's proposal for a Data Governance Regulation in November 2020 sought to create the processes and structures to facilitate data sharing; the Data Act is the next step and clarifies who can create value from data and under which conditions.
By making more data available for reuse and innovation, the Commission expects to create €270 billion of additional GDP by 2028.
There is likely to be resistance from industry players, particularly in the tech and automotive sectors. This is unsurprising given the broad territorial reach of the Data Act, the measures that seek to shift the power balance away from large (mainly non-EU) data incumbents to smaller, EU, organisations, the additional cost that data sharing obligations will bring, and the proposed expansion of restrictions on data flows to third countries. A draft letter raising concerns was circulated amongst trade associations, when the proposal content was leaked in early February 2022, arguing that incentives around data access and sharing that build on existing best practice, instead of mandatory requirements, would be a better way forward.
At a member state level, negotiations over the Data Act may echo recent negotiations over the Data Governance Regulation, split between those members states that are data sovereignty-minded (France, Spain, Italy) and those that favour a more liberal approach to the US-based data incumbents (Ireland and eastern Europe), with Germany's position remaining ambiguous owing to disagreement within the new government over which position to take.
What about the UK – will it follow suit? Many UK businesses operating in the EU will be impacted, but it's less certain that the UK Government will see fit to legislate in this area, as this would appear to be incompatible with the objectives set out in its consultation on data protection reform, "Data: A new direction", e.g. to make data subject rights less burdensome for business.