23 February 2022 – The European Commission unveiled its Data Act proposal today, which aims at ensuring fair data access and use, as well as empowering consumers to remain in control over their data. The proposal sets out horizontal data access and use principles, and confirms that these will be complemented by legislation addressing sector-specific challenges.
The FIA European Bureau (FIA EB) strongly welcomes the Data Act proposal and its intention to make the sharing of data a common practice across different actors, and to put consumers at the centre of the process.
“We welcome the European Commission’s recognition that the consumer should have the right to decide which type of product generated data is shared, when, with whom, and for what purpose,” said Laurianne Krid, FIA Region I Director General.
“The proposal is a step forward towards reaching fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory access to data, and we look forward to an update of vehicle type-approval legislation, including access to vehicle functions and resources, that supports the implementation of these principles in the context of connected cars and mobility services,” Krid continued.
As the Data Act rightfully mentions, manufacturers are often able to determine, through their control of the technical design of the product and related services, what data is retained and transmitted, and how it can be accessed. The FIA EB estimates that vehicle manufacturers’ tight control over data flows could cause independent service providers and consumers combined losses of 65 billion euros per year by 2030 in the vehicle aftermarket.
The Data Act proposal partially addresses these issues by specifying that data holders’ technical protection measures shall not be used to hinder the users’ right to effective data sharing with third parties. The shortcomings of the Extended Vehicle are consensual as its design hampers the full application of privacy and data protection laws thereby affecting innovation and consumer choice.
A technical solution that respects the Data Act principles and can avoid said shortcomings is already available: “Mandating the Secure On-Board Telematics Platform (S-OTP) would guarantee true consumer choice, effective competition, and free entrepreneurship. In fact, it is the best way to empower the users and ensure that consumers can keep their freedom of choice, and decide where their data goes,” Krid concluded.