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What are the recent updates on the Data Governance Act?

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On 1 October 2021, the general approach to the Data Governance Act (DGA) was adopted by EU Ambassadors. A negotiation mandate was also issued for negotiations of the EU Commission and the Parliament. The DGA is a legislative proposal published by the European Commission on 25 November 2020 as part of the European Data Strategy.

Recent development

On 25 November 2020, the European Commission proposed the draft DGA as part of the European Data Strategy, following which EU ambassadors presented their opinion on the draft. Preliminary negotiations on the DGA between the European Parliament, Council and Commission will take place on 20 October 2021. Final consensus on the negotiations is expected to be reached soon. You may access the draft DGA here.

What does the DGA cover?

The DGA aims to increase trust among data intermediaries in sharing data within EU. The draft is the first stage of implementing the European Data Strategy and will take the form of a regulation that will be binding on all Member States. The DGA aims to allow reuse and sharing of protected data (e.g., personal data, trade secrets, and protected intellectual property rights) by building trust across data intermediaries and ensuring the safety of such rights. The key aspects of the DGA are as follows:

  • As per the DGA, ‘data’ means any digital representation of acts, facts or information and any compilation of such acts, facts or information, including in the form of sound, visual or audiovisual recording. This definition covers both personal data under the General Data Protection Regulation and nonpersonal data.
  • The DGA allows reuse of public sector data for commercial and noncommercial purposes by setting out conditions for the use of such data. For this purpose, public bodies will be expected to protect the rights and interests of third parties — for instance, by taking technical measures (e.g., anonymization and using secure processing environments) or by helping re-users seek the appropriate legal basis such as obtaining explicit consent from the data subjects.
  • The DGA further introduces data altruism, in which the data is being made available voluntarily for several purposes, including healthcare, scientific research, combatting climate change, etc. However, it should be noted that such voluntary disclosure is subject to informed consent.
  • The DGA provides a framework for a business model called data intermediation services, which allows companies and individuals to share data.
  • As per the DGA, the European Data Innovation Board will be established as another supervisory body to ensure transparency.

Conclusion

With these negotiations, the EU takes further steps to establishing its data strategy. The negotiations will reveal the approach to DGA, which aims to increase access to data in order to strengthen applications related to artificial intelligence, health, manufacturing and similar fields.