EU Passes Data Governance Act

EU Passes Data Governance Act
Photo by Christian Lue on Unsplash

A lesser but still significant piece of European Union (EU) legislation will take effect next year now that the last necessary stakeholder signed off on the regulation. While this regulation is not as high profile as the “Digital Services Act” or the “Digital Markets Act,” this bill will change how publicly held data is used by public and private sector entities.

The new regulation would take effect late next summer and would make available some personal and non-personal data EU entities hold that are subject to other rights such as data protection, intellectual property, and trade secret restrictions. The new regime will purportedly make those data available in ways that will respect existing rights. There is an existing directive on the re-use of publicly held data that is not subject to other rights, and thus, the new regulation will complement the existing one.

The European Commission (EC) and its partner governing entities envision making available most of the data its entities hold in ways that will help foster the development and advancement of artificial intelligence (AI) in the European Union (EU). Additionally, the EU’s government has the notion that making available data in protected forms like anonymization would address the gap between large private sector entities and would-be competitors such as any social media service that would challenge Facebook or TikTok. Start-ups lack the data and analytical advantages tech giants have and this new regime would help address those issues. Finally, the EU believes that large data sets would permit “data altruism,” a practice defined in the bill as encompassing non-profit uses or activities that work in the public interest.

The EU’s “Data Governance Act” (DGA) will become law now that the Council of the European Union approved the regulation the European Parliament passed. The Council claimed the DGA “will set up robust mechanisms to facilitate the reuse of certain categories of protected public-sector data, increase trust in data intermediation services and foster data altruism across the EU.” As mentioned, the DGA addresses data held by EU bodies over which some other party holds rights or a claim. This new law needs to be distinguished from the Open Data Directive (Directive (EU) 2019/1024).