European Data Act, Final Text



Preamble 81 to 90.


(81) The generic concept ‘data processing services’ covers a substantial number of services with a very broad range of different purposes, functionalities and technical set-ups. As commonly understood by providers and users and in line with broadly used standards, data processing services fall into one or more of the following three data processing service delivery models, namely Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a service (PaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS). Those service delivery models represent a specific, pre-packaged combination of ICT resources offered by a provider of data processing service.

Those three fundamental data processing delivery models are further complemented by emerging variations, each comprised of a distinct combination of ICT resources, such as Storage as a Service and Database as a Service. Data processing services can be categorised in a more granular way and divided into a non-exhaustive list of sets of data processing services that share the same primary objective and main functionalities as well as the same type of data processing models, that are not related to the service’s operational characteristics (same service type).

Services falling under the same service type may share the same data processing service model, however, two databases might appear to share the same primary objective, but after considering their data processing model, distribution model and the use cases that they are targeted at, such databases could fall into a more granular subcategory of similar services. Services of the same service type may have different and competing characteristics such as performance, security, resilience, and quality of service.


(82) Undermining the extraction of the exportable data that belongs to the customer from the source provider of data processing services can impede the restoration of the service functionalities in the infrastructure of the destination provider of data processing services.

In order to facilitate the customer’s exit strategy, avoid unnecessary and burdensome tasks and to ensure that the customer does not lose any of their data as a consequence of the switching process, the source provider of data processing services should inform the customer in advance of the scope of the data that can be exported once that customer decides to switch to a different service provided by a different provider of data processing services or to move to an on-premises ICT infrastructure.

The scope of exportable data should include, at a minimum, input and output data, including metadata, directly or indirectly generated, or cogenerated, by the customer’s use of the data processing service, excluding any assets or data of the provider of data processing services or a third party.

The exportable data should exclude any assets or data of the provider of data processing services or of the third party that are protected by intellectual property rights or constituting trade secrets of that provider or of that third party, or data related to the integrity and security of the service, the export of which will expose the providers of data processing services to cybersecurity vulnerabilities. Those exemptions should not impede or delay the switching process.


(83) Digital assets refer to elements in digital form for which the customer has the right of use, including applications and metadata related to the configuration of settings, security, and access and control rights management, and other elements such as manifestations of virtualisation technologies, including virtual machines and containers.

Digital assets can be transferred where the customer has the right of use independent of the contractual relationship with the data processing service it intends to switch from. Those other elements are essential for the effective use of the customer’s data and applications in the environment of the destination provider of data processing services.


(84) This Regulation aims to facilitate switching between data processing services, which encompasses conditions and actions that are necessary for a customer to terminate a contract for a data processing service, to conclude one or more new contracts with different providers of data processing services, to port its exportable data and digital assets, and where applicable, benefit from functional equivalence.


(85) Switching is a customer-driven operation consisting of several steps, including data extraction, which refers to the downloading of data from the ecosystem of the source provider of data processing services; transformation, where the data is structured in a way that does not match the schema of the target location; and the uploading of the data in a new destination location. In a specific situation outlined in this Regulation, unbundling of a particular service from the contract and moving it to a different provider should also be considered to be switching.

The switching process is sometimes managed on behalf of the customer by a third-party entity. Accordingly, all rights and obligations of the customer established by this Regulation, including the obligation to cooperate in good faith, should be understood to apply to such a third-party entity in those circumstances. Providers of data processing services and customers have different levels of responsibilities, depending on the steps of the process referred to.

For instance, the source provider of data processing services is responsible for extracting the data to a machine-readable format, but it is the customer and the destination provider of data processing services who are to upload the data to the new environment, unless a specific professional transition service has been obtained. A customer who intends to exercise rights related to switching, which are provided for in this Regulation, should inform the source provider of data processing services of the decision to either switch to a different provider of data processing services, switch to an on-premises ICT infrastructure or to delete that customer’s assets and erase its exportable data.


(86) Functional equivalence means re-establishing, on the basis of the customer’s exportable data and digital assets, a minimum level of functionality in the environment of a new data processing service of the same service type after switching, where the destination data processing service delivers a materially comparable outcome in response to the same input for shared features supplied to the customer under the contract.

Providers of data processing services can only be expected to facilitate functional equivalence for the features that both the source and destination data processing services offer independently. This Regulation does not constitute an obligation to facilitate functional equivalence for providers of data processing services other than those offering services of the IaaS delivery model.


(87) Data processing services are used across sectors and vary in complexity and service type. This is an important consideration with regard to the porting process and timeframes. Nonetheless, an extension of the transitional period on the grounds of technical unfeasibility to allow the finalisation of the switching process in the given timeframe should be invoked only in duly justified cases.

The burden of proof in that regard should fall fully on the provider of the data processing service concerned. This is without prejudice to the exclusive right of the customer to extend the transitional period once for a period that the customer considers to be more appropriate for its own purposes. The customer may evoke that right to an extension prior to or during the transitional period, taking into account that the contract remains applicable during the transitional period.


(88) Switching charges are charges imposed by providers of data processing services on the customers for the switching process. Typically, those charges are intended to pass on costs which the source provider of data processing services may incur because of the switching process to the customer who wishes to switch.

Common examples of switching charges are costs related to the transit of data from one provider of data processing services to another or to an on-premises ICT infrastructure (data egress charges) or the costs incurred for specific support actions during the switching process. Unnecessarily high data egress charges and other unjustified charges unrelated to actual switching costs inhibit customers from switching, restrict the free flow of data, have the potential to limit competition and cause lock-in effects for the customers by reducing incentives to choose a different or additional service provider.

Switching charges should therefore be abolished after three years from the date of entry into force of this Regulation. Providers of data processing services should be able to impose reduced switching charges up to that date.


(89) A source provider of data processing services should be able to outsource certain tasks and compensate third-party entities in order to comply with the obligations provided for in this Regulation.

A customer should not bear the costs arising from the outsourcing of services concluded by the source provider of data processing services during the switching process and such costs should be considered to be unjustified unless they cover work undertaken by the provider of data processing services at the customer’s request for additional support in the switching process which goes beyond the switching obligations of the provider as expressly provided for in this Regulation.

Nothing in this Regulation prevents a customer from compensating third-party entities for support in the migration process or parties from agreeing on contracts for data processing services of a fixed duration, including proportionate early termination penalties to cover the early termination of such contracts, in accordance with Union or national law.

In order to foster competition, the gradual withdrawal of the charges associated with switching between different providers of data processing services should specifically include data egress charges imposed by a provider of data processing services on a customer. Standard service fees for the provision of the data processing services themselves are not switching charges. Those standard service fees are not subject to withdrawal and remain applicable until the contract for the provision of the relevant services ceases to apply.

This Regulation allows the customer to request the provision of additional services that go beyond the provider’s switching obligations under this Regulation. Those additional services, can be performed and charged for by the provider when they are performed at the customer’s request and the customer agrees to the price of those services in advance.


(90) An ambitious and innovation-inspiring regulatory approach to interoperability is needed to overcome vendor lock-in, which undermines competition and the development of new services. Interoperability between data processing services involves multiple interfaces and layers of infrastructure and software and is rarely confined to a binary test of being achievable or not.

Instead, the building of such interoperability is subject to a cost-benefit analysis which is necessary to establish whether it is worthwhile to pursue reasonably predictable results. The ISO/IEC 19941:2017 is an important international standard constituting a reference for the achievement of the objectives of this Regulation, as it contains technical considerations clarifying the complexity of such a process.