European Data Act, Final Text

Preamble 11 to 20.

(11) Union law establishing physical design and data requirements for products to be placed on the Union market should not be affected unless specifically provided for by this Regulation.

(12) This Regulation complements and is without prejudice to Union law aiming to establish accessibility requirements on certain products and services, in particular Directive (EU) 2019/882 of the European Parliament and of the Council.

(13) This Regulation is without prejudice to Union and national legal acts providing for the protection of intellectual property rights, including Directives 2001/29/EC, 2004/48/EC and (EU) 2019/790 of the European Parliament and of the Council.

(14) Connected products that obtain, generate or collect, by means of their components or operating systems, data concerning their performance, use or environment and that are able to communicate those data via an electronic communications service, a physical connection, or on-device access, often referred to as the Internet of Things, should fall within the scope of this Regulation, with the exception of prototypes.

Examples of such electronic communications services include, in particular, land-based telephone networks, television cable networks, satellite-based networks and near-field communication networks. Connected products are found in all aspects of the economy and society, including in private, civil or commercial infrastructure, vehicles, health and lifestyle equipment, ships, aircraft, home equipment and consumer goods, medical and health devices or agricultural and industrial machinery. Manufacturers’ design choices, and, where relevant, Union or national law that addresses sector-specific needs and objectives or relevant decisions of competent authorities, should determine which data a connected product is capable of making available.

(15) The data represent the digitisation of user actions and events and should accordingly be accessible to the user. The rules for access to and the use of data from connected products and related services under this Regulation address both product data and related service data. Product data refers to data generated by the use of a connected product that the manufacturer designed to be retrievable from the connected product by a user, data holder or a third party, including, where relevant, the manufacturer. Related service data refers to data, which also represent the digitisation of user actions or events related to the connected product which are generated during the provision of a related service by the provider.

Data generated by the use of a connected product or related service should be understood to cover data recorded intentionally or data which result indirectly from the user’s action, such as data about the connected product’s environment or interactions. This should include data on the use of a connected product generated by a user interface or via a related service, and should not be limited to the information that such use took place, but should include all data that the connected product generates as a result of such use, such as data generated automatically by sensors and data recorded by embedded applications, including applications indicating hardware status and malfunctions.

This should also include data generated by the connected product or related service during times of inaction by the user, such as when the user chooses not to use a connected product for a given period of time and instead to keep it in stand-by mode or even switched off, as the status of a connected product or its components, for example its batteries, can vary when the connected product is in stand-by mode or switched off.

Data which are not substantially modified, meaning data in raw form, also known as source or primary data which refer to data points that are automatically generated without any further form of processing, as well as data which have been pre-processed for the purpose of making them understandable and useable prior to subsequent processing and analysis fall within the scope of this Regulation. Such data includes data collected from a single sensor or a connected group of sensors for the purpose of making the collected data comprehensible for wider use-cases by determining a physical quantity or quality or the change in a physical quantity, such as temperature, pressure, flow rate, audio, pH value, liquid level, position, acceleration or speed.

The term ‘pre-processed data’ should not be interpreted in such a manner as to impose an obligation on the data holder to make substantial investments in cleaning and transforming the data. The data to be made available should include the relevant metadata, including its basic context and timestamp, to make the data usable, combined with other data, such as data sorted and classified with other data points relating to them, or re-formatted into a commonly used format. Such data are potentially valuable to the user and support innovation and the development of digital and other services to protect the environment, health and the circular economy, including through facilitating the maintenance and repair of the connected products in question.

By contrast, information inferred or derived from such data, which is the outcome of additional investments into assigning values or insights from the data, in particular by means of proprietary, complex algorithms, including those that are a part of proprietary software, should not be considered to fall within the scope of this Regulation and consequently should not be subject to the obligation of a data holder to make it available to a user or a data recipient, unless otherwise agreed between the user and the data holder. Such data could include, in particular, information derived by means of sensor fusion, which infers or derives data from multiple sensors, collected in the connected product, using proprietary, complex algorithms and which could be subject to intellectual property rights.

(16) This Regulation enables users of connected products to benefit from aftermarket, ancillary and other services based on data collected by sensors embedded in such products, the collection of those data being of potential value in improving the performance of the connected products. It is important to delineate between, on the one hand, markets for the provision of such sensor-equipped connected products and related services and, on the other, markets for unrelated software and content such as textual, audio or audiovisual content often covered by intellectual property rights.

As a result, data that such sensor-equipped connected products generate when the user records, transmits, displays or plays content, as well as the content itself, which is often covered by intellectual property rights, inter alia for use by an online service, should not be covered by this Regulation. This Regulation should also not cover data which was obtained, generated or accessed from the connected product, or which was transmitted to it, for the purpose of storage or other processing operations on behalf of other parties, who are not the user, such as may be the case with regard to servers or cloud infrastructure operated by their owners entirely on behalf of third parties, inter alia for use by an online service.

(17) It is necessary to lay down rules regarding products that are connected to a related service at the time of the purchase, rent or lease in such a way that its absence would prevent the connected product from performing one or more of its functions, or which is subsequently connected to the product by the manufacturer or a third party to add to or adapt the functionality of the connected product.

Such related services involve the exchange of data between the connected product and the service provider and should be understood to be explicitly linked to the operation of the connected product’s functions, such as services that, where applicable, transmit commands to the connected product that are able to have an impact on its action or behaviour.

Services which do not have an impact on the operation of the connected product and which do not involve the transmitting of data or commands to the connected product by the service provider should not be considered to be related services. Such services could include, for example, auxiliary consulting, analytics or financial services, or regular repair and maintenance. Related services can be offered as part of the purchase, rent or lease contract.

Related services could also be provided for products of the same type and users could reasonably expect them to be provided taking into account the nature of the connected product and any public statement made by or on behalf of the seller, rentor, lessor or other persons in previous links of the chain of transactions, including the manufacturer.

Those related services may themselves generate data of value to the user independently of the data collection capabilities of the connected product with which they are interconnected. This Regulation should also apply to a related service that is not supplied by the seller, rentor or lessor itself, but which is provided by a third party. In the event of doubt as to whether the service is provided as part of the purchase, rent or lease contract, this Regulation should apply. Neither the power supply, nor the supply of the connectivity are to be interpreted as related services under this Regulation.

(18) The user of a connected product should be understood to be a natural or legal person, such as a business, a consumer or a public sector body, that owns a connected product, has received certain temporary rights, for example by means of a rental or lease agreement, to access or use data obtained from the connected product, or receives related services for the connected product.

Those access rights should in no way alter or interfere with the rights of data subjects who may be interacting with a connected product or a related service regarding personal data generated by the connected product or during the provision of the related service. The user bears the risks and enjoys the benefits of using the connected product and should also enjoy access to the data it generates.

The user should therefore be entitled to derive benefit from data generated by that connected product and any related service. An owner, renter or lessee should also be considered to be a user, including where several entities can be considered to be users. In the context of multiple users, each user may contribute in a different manner to the data generation and have an interest in several forms of use, such as fleet management for a leasing enterprise, or mobility solutions for individuals using a car sharing service.

(19) Data literacy refers to the skills, knowledge and understanding that allows users, consumers and businesses, in particular SMEs falling within the scope of this Regulation, to gain awareness of the potential value of the data they generate, produce and share and that they are motivated to offer and provide access to in accordance with relevant legal rules. Data literacy should go beyond learning about tools and technologies and aim to equip and empower citizens and businesses with the ability to benefit from an inclusive and fair data market.

The spread of data literacy measures and the introduction of appropriate follow-up actions could contribute to improving working conditions and ultimately sustain the consolidation, and innovation path of, the data economy in the Union. Competent authorities should promote tools and adopt measures to advance data literacy among users and entities falling within the scope of this Regulation and an awareness of their rights and obligations thereunder.

(20) In practice, not all data generated by connected products or related services are easily accessible to their users and there are often limited possibilities regarding the portability of data generated by products connected to the internet. Users are unable to obtain the data necessary to make use of providers of repair and other services and businesses are unable to launch innovative, convenient and more efficient services.

In many sectors, manufacturers are able to determine, through their control of the technical design of the connected products or related services, what data are generated and how they can be accessed, despite having no legal right to those data. It is therefore necessary to ensure that connected products are designed and manufactured, and related services are designed and provided, in such a manner that product data and related service data, including the relevant metadata necessary to interpret and use those data, including for the purpose of retrieving, using or sharing them, are always easily and securely accessible to a user, free of charge, in a comprehensive, structured, commonly used and machine-readable format.

Product data and related service data that a data holder lawfully obtains or can lawfully obtain from the connected product or related service, such as by means of the connected product design, the data holder’s contract with the user for the provision of related services, and its technical means of data access, without disproportionate effort, are referred to as ‘readily available data’.

Readily available data does not include data generated by the use of a connected product where the design of the connected product does not provide for such data being stored or transmitted outside the component in which they are generated or the connected product as a whole. This Regulation should therefore not be understood to impose an obligation to store data on the central computing unit of a connected product. The absence of such an obligation should not prevent the manufacturer or data holder from voluntarily agreeing with the user on the making of such adaptations.

The design obligations in this Regulation are also without prejudice to the data minimisation principle laid down in Article 5(1), point (c), of Regulation (EU) 2016/679 and should not be understood as imposing an obligation to design connected products and related services in such a way that they store or otherwise process any personal data other than the personal data necessary in relation to the purposes for which they are processed.

Union or national law could be introduced to outline further specificities, such as the product data that should be accessible from connected products or related services, given that such data may be essential for the efficient operation, repair or maintenance of those connected products or related services.

Where subsequent updates or alterations to a connected product or a related service, by the manufacturer or another party, lead to additional accessible data or a restriction of initially accessible data, such changes should be communicated to the user in the context of the update or alteration.