Data Act – Unleashing the potential of SMEs in the data economy

Data is an essential asset to the green and digital transition. To unleash the potential of the European data economy it is crucial that we ensure fairness and accessibility in the data market. That is the purpose of the proposal made by the European Commission on the Data Act. DIGITAL SME generally welcomes the proposal as it addresses key concerns that have been raised in the past.

On 14 March 2022 the European Commission published a legislative proposal for a European Data Act.

The Data Act aims at:

  • ensuring fairness in how the value from using data is shared among businesses, consumers and accountable public bodies;
  • facilitating access to and use of data, including business-to-business and business-to-government;
  • reviewing the rules on the legal protection of databases
  • seeking the right balance between rights to access data and incentives to invest in data, without changing the current data protection rules.

With this position paper, DIGITAL SME would like to provide views and suggestions on the Data Act from the perspective of SMEs active in the ICT sector from across Europe. It has been prepared in response to the European Commission consultation on the Data Act. The position paper provides comments from the SME perspective with regards to the importance of the data economy, data access, contractual fairness and an overall beneficial data economy.

Overall, DIGITAL SME welcomes this initiative, as it addresses key concerns raised in the past and supports a more competitive data economy. DIGITAL SME in particualr welcomes the SME-friendly angle of this proposal, exemplified in its promotion of the FRAND (fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory) conditions. Furthermore, policymakers should consider extending the exemptions currently devised for micro and small enterprises to all SMEs, so that data sharingobligations towards public entities are not applied to medium companies.

Moreover, data portability and interoperability, which are crucial for data-sharing between different market players, require standards that work for all companies. However, SMEs are often under-represented in standard-setting committees. We recommend their further inclusion in all relevant oversight bodies, such as the European Data Innovation Board established by the Data Governance Act.

Finally, the European Commission should investigate how the Data Act may interact with a potential “Right to Repair” and “Right to Update”. Device owners should have the right to access any data necessary for the primary function of a device and be able to provide access to after-sales services. The European Commission must ensure that manufacturers do not restrict access and repairability of their devices.


Read the full position paper here. This position paper was made possible with the key input by the DIGITAL SME Task Force Data.