The European Parliament has adopted its position on the Data Act, the first EU industrial data rulebook, setting harmonised rules on accessing, sharing and using data generated by connected products, such as vehicles, and related services.
The road transport sector has long been calling for legislation to govern the access to, and sharing of, data generated by businesses.
Although a cross-sectoral initiative, the Data Act is specifically relevant for operators transporting people and goods, considering the amount of data generated by road transport vehicles.
Clear access rights for users, including operators
The text adopted clarifies vehicle users and third parties’ access to vehicle-generated data.
IRU EU Advocacy Director Raluca Marian said, “We welcome the European Parliament’s pragmatic approach to give vehicle users, including transport operators, clear rights to claim access to vehicle-generated data.”
“There is no reason to censure users’ access to data generated by their own vehicles or set limits on when vehicle users can grant permission to a vehicle repair shop or any other kind of service provider of their choice,” she added.
Another win for the sector is the clarifications provided on the type of data that is within the act’s scope, which will also be included in future agreements between data holders and users of connected products.
“Knowing precisely what kind of data we are talking about is a pre-condition for effective user rights,” highlighted Raluca Marian.
“It is unfortunate that legislators omitted to include information derived or inferred from transport operators’ data within the scope, hence leaving a grey area where certain data holders can still take advantage of their strong position and deny transport operators access to information which can have significant commercial value to them,” added Raluca Marian.
Clear limits on business-to-government data flows
IRU particularly welcomes additional limits on governments’ access to vehicle-generated data, in line with IRU’s position.
The Parliament’s text clearly defines the exceptional circumstances under which such access becomes compulsory, for example during natural disasters, and limits non-emergency situations to those expressly prescribed in the law.
The Parliament’s decision must be matched by the Council’s general approach to begin final negotiations between EU legislators.
“IRU has signalled for years the necessity of regulating data flows, particularly in a business-to-business context. We can only support a text which improves the balance between the need for innovation and the need to protect commercial transport interests in a B2B context,” said Raluca Marian.
“While we welcome the Data Act, we recognise that not all sector-specific issues can be solved with a horizontal approach. This is the time to take advantage of the progress made and move forward with the ‘Access to vehicle data, functions and resources’ legislation, which would address the distinct needs of the transport industry,” concluded Raluca Marian.
IRU members have previously adopted the IRU position paper on the Data Act, the principles of which are largely reflected in the text adopted.