Connected objects: Brussels proposes rules for better data exploitation

The amount of data is constantly increasing. Globally, it is expected to grow from 33 zettabytes (trillion trillion bytes) in 2018 to 175 zettabytes in 2025. (Photo: 123RF)

BRUSSELS – Cars, phones, personal assistants… Brussels on Wednesday proposed new rules governing the use of billions of data generated by these increasingly connected, everyday objects to benefit from this economic revolution.

“Who owns the data generated, for example, by a connected car? The supplier of the product, the user? That is the question that arises and which we decide ”in this draft regulation, explained the European Commissioner for the Internal Market Thierry Breton, during a press conference.

He stressed the importance of providing new rights to consumers and legal certainty for businesses. “So far, only a small portion of industrial data is used and the potential for growth and innovation in it is enormous,” he explained.

The text, which will apply to all economic sectors, but can be supplemented by sector-specific regulations, specifies who can create value from the data, and under what conditions.

untapped treasure

The amount of data is constantly increasing. Globally, it is expected to grow from 33 zettabytes (trillion bytes) in 2018 to 175 zettabytes in 2025, according to the European Commission. But she estimates that 80% of industrial data remains untapped today.

The new regulation, which remains to be negotiated with member states and the European Parliament, aims to address the legal, economic and technical problems at the origin of this underutilization. It aims to generate 270 billion euros of additional GDP by 2028.

The text aims to ensure greater equal access to data by economic players, to create new innovative services and to allow more competitive prices for after-sales services and repair of connected objects.

It gives consumers access to the data they create, which is often collected exclusively by manufacturers. You will authorize its sharing with third party companies to provide the Services.

The proposal also seeks to preserve the incentive for manufacturers to invest in data production. It provides compensation for costs related to the transmission of their data and prevents it from being used to develop a competing product.

It aims to preserve access to data by small and medium-sized businesses, in particular by protecting it from abusive clauses imposed by large groups.

Ensures public bodies have access to private company data to deal with emergencies or carry out certain tasks.

Customers of “cloud” services (remote data hosting) will also be able to more easily change the resource.

commercial concern

The Brussels initiative is causing concern among businesses. They fear losing control of a valuable resource, even if they are in favor of creating a legal framework.

BusinessEurope Managing Director Markus Beyrer responded, “European data law should not become an obstacle to the investment and growth of European companies by enforcing data sharing in the absence of market failure.”

The same story is on the part of the Software Publishers Association (BSA): “Organizations that keep data should retain complete control over its sharing,” said Thomas Bowie, the association’s head of public policy.

“The proposal is well-intentioned, but requires improvements,” believes Alexander Rohr, of the CCIA, a lobby group for tech giants.

He called for the law to “protect confidential business information, treat all businesses equally, and avoid placing new restrictions on the flow of data.”

For Monique Goyens, Director General of the European Consumer Union (BEUC), it is on the contrary “it is essential that consumers decide what happens to the data they create, when they share it and with whom”.

She hopes the new regulations will not “end up strengthening the big data tech monopolies.”

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