As part of the EU Commission's initiative to make the EU a leader in our data-driven society, the Council have adopted a new Regulation on harmonised rules for fair access to and use of data (the Data Act). 


The Data Act is the second main initiative to come out of the EU Commission's February 2020 European strategy for data, after the Data Governance Act. 

As part of the Commission's aim to both create a fair data-driven economy and to guide the EU's digital transformation into a data leader, the Data Act sets up rules on who can use data generated by the use of “connected products or services”, i.e. the Internet of Things devices (any non-standard computing hardware that connects to the Internet and transmits data, like smart watches). 

It also allows users to share that data with third parties, i.e. you could choose to share certain vehicle data with your mechanic. 

What are the main objectives of the Act?

The rules regulate who can access and use data generated in the EU across all economic sectors. The main objectives of the rules are to:

  • facilitate access to and use of data by both consumers and businesses;
  • prevent such data from being used to create competing products or services;
  • provide for access by public bodies in some circumstances; and 
  • create a secure environment for sharing data across sectors and between Member States.


The rules will apply to:

  • manufacturers and providers of connected products and services;
  • users of such products and services in the EU;
  • data holders (irrespective of their place of establishment);
  • data recipients in the EU;
  • public sector bodies;
  • cloud and edge providers; and
  • other stakeholders, i.e. vendors who use smart contracts (self-executing digital agreements).

Next steps

The Data Act will come into force on 11 January 2024, after it was published in the Official Journal on 22 December 2023. The majority of the rules will start to apply from 12 September 2025 onwards, with some rules taking effect later.