Insights European Commission publishes Incept Impact Assessment on Data Act including a review of Database Directive (96/9/EC)


With publication of its Data Strategy in February 2020, the Commission set out a vision for the data economy. The aim is for a Single Market for data where data flows between countries and sectors with fair, practical and clear rules for access and use and in full respect of European values and rules, including the GDPR and the E-Privacy Directive (to be replaced by the E-Privacy Regulation).

The Strategy announced a legislative initiative that would complement the Commission’s Data Governance Act. The aim of the new legislation would be to address the difficulties of access to and use of data in specific situations, including in a business-to-business context.

In addition, the Strategy announced a review of the Database Directive and clarification of the Trade Secrets Directive (2016/943/EU).

The Commission has now published a Roadmap towards achieving its aims of increasing access to and further use of data so that both the private and public sectors can benefit from Big Data and machine learning.

The Roadmap looks at both data usage rights in industrial value chains and the fair distribution of usage rights. The overall aim is to ensure that data can be shared safely and is not misappropriated and that the rules are in line with applicable EU legislation. In particular, it aims to increase fairness and competition in data processing services, such as cloud computing services. In short, the initiative seeks to address the following issues:

  • use of privately-held data by the public sector;
  • data access and use in business-to-business situations, including a review of the Database Directive and the Trade Secrets Directive;
  • establishing more competitive markets for cloud computing services; and
  • safeguards for non-personal data in international contexts.

The Roadmap is open for feedback until 25 June 2021. A public consultation will be launched in due course. To access the Roadmap and for information on providing feedback, click here.