Berg: "Raising the European data economy to the level of the world's leading digital locations".
Bitkom critical of planned interference with contractual freedom and competition
Berlin, 23 February 2022 – The European Commission presented its proposal for the Data Act today. Among other things, the Data Act is intended to advance the sharing of data between companies and from companies to the public sector, introduce new data access rights for connected devices and make international data transfer more secure. Bitkom President Achim Berg states:
"The Data Act has implications that go far beyond the digital industry and touch upon all industries and sectors. The role of data in production as well as in services of all kinds is of crucial importance, determining the competitiveness of the European and German economy. The Data Act must be designed in such a way that it raises the European data economy to the level of the world's leading digital locations.
We welcome the Data Act's goal of advancing data sharing, strengthening data availability and thus laying the foundations for a powerful data economy. Now it's a matter of how it's designed - and of balancing the different interests in such a way that everyone benefits from data sharing. Which rules are actually necessary to promote the exchange of data and to what extent should they be designed differently for each sector, must be discussed in the legislative procedure. We are critical of the intended interference with contractual freedom between companies. In particular, a ban on certain rules in standard contracts for data sharing is foreseen. Improvements must be made in the sharing of company data to the public sector in order to preserve the principles of the market economy. There is also a need for improvement on the question of how to protect trade secrets where data sharing is mandatory. We are also sceptical about the proposed new competencies for the European Commission to set standards for cloud services and data spaces. In these young markets, there is a real danger that competition and thus innovation in Europe will be 'standardised away'. There is also a risk of over-regulation in international data transfers - here there are already ongoing initiatives such as the current negotiations between the EU and the US to find solutions for potentially diverging interests and legal conflicts.
In Germany, we should definitely examine the planned national data law as well as other sectoral data policy projects from the coalition agreement to see whether they are still necessary - or whether they might even contradict the Data Act."