European Commission’s proposal for Data Act welcomed, but robust automotive-specific legislation urgently required
Brussels, 23 February 2022 – A broad coalition representing a wide range of major automotive aftermarket stakeholders, as well as operators in the mobility services value chain, consumers, the insurance and the tyre industries welcomes today’s publication of the proposal by the European Commission for a European Union’s Data Act.
The Data Act lays down important principles. It establishes an important right for users to access the data generated through their use of connected products, and to assign rights of access to the data to a third-party service provider of their choice. Also, aftermarket repair and maintenance services and access to diagnostics information are explicitly included. Other important provisions include the manufacturer’s obligations to make the data transparent and “easily accessible” to the user, restrictions on the manufacturer to monitor the activities of the user or third-party and on compensation for the costs of making data available, particularly for SMEs.
However, while the coalition recognises the Data Act represents a relevant step forward towards the development of the European Data Economy, it strongly believes that the Data Act will not be sufficient by itself in the automotive sector. The ecosystem needs sector-specific automotive legislation translating the principles and provisions of the Data Act into concrete, legal and technical measures for the automotive sector. Also, certain aspects of the Data Act require more clarity for the automotive sector, as they currently leave too much room for interpretation, creating legal uncertainty and a high risk of litigation. Only a dedicated piece of legislation will provide the confidence and incentive independent service providers require to invest in new data driven services, which will benefit consumers and the whole society by providing smarter, safer and more sustainable mobility solutions.
Aside from the explicit user consent for access to data, third party service providers require stand-alone access rights to the information and resources that are essential to develop competing services. Under the Data Act approach, all these service providers would however only get a derived right, which completely neglects that these parties need, in the first instance, to know and test in advance what data and functions are in principle available and will be at their disposal. Therefore, only an autonomous and stand-alone access right to the tools and resources required to develop the means of access will enable the independent service providers to develop competing digital services in advance so that these can be offered, marketed and advertised to the consumers or other data co-generators. Access rights must be backed by proper means to exert them.
Furthermore, five years of wide-ranging evidence-gathering by the European Commission with the contribution from stakeholders of the ecosystem, have underlined that, whilst the use cases for vehicle-generated data are potentially limitless, they are entirely dependent on efficient access to in-vehicle data and resources.
The coalition therefore calls on the European Commission to swiftly propose robust sector-specific legislation on access to in-vehicle data and resources so that co-decision procedure can proceed as from October 2022 and be completed before the end of this parliamentary term in April 2024.