Upcoming European Data Governance Act to challenge big tech’s dominance over personal data brokering

Euro Data Governance

New legislation will put data governance models such as Data Unions and Data Trusts in focus, empowering consumers and unlocking new business opportunities for EU startups.

Brussels – Today the European Commission has released a public draft of their proposed EU Data Governance Act. Along with other legislation, it lays the groundwork for European data policy over the next decade. The act outlines how digital services should handle data in the future, with a particular focus on consumer rights, governance and brokering of people’s data. The draft is expected to be passed to the parliament for consideration in the coming months.

The draft legislation comes at a time when a new governance for regulating data ownership is urgently needed. Too many scandals in the past have shown how mismanagement of data can lead to horrendous consequences. Next to that, tech giants make billions of dollars selling user data, without sharing revenue or allowing for rich consent models. The upcoming EU data governance act is proposing new, democratic models by which data can be managed by consumers and companies alike.

The EU lobbying group MyData, who issued a statement last week, ahead of the official release of the draft legislation, noted that:

“We welcome the regulation as a needed common ground for clarifying the role of data intermediaries, building trust in these intermediaries and setting the direction for data governance, similar to what GDPR did for data protection. At the same time, we advocate for careful scrutiny of the articles, as the Data Governance Act will be regulating a market that is in its very early stages, with many cycles of innovation to come. Thus, the regulation will have a strong influence in the nascent market.”

MyData Global’s Teemu Ropponen, General Manager, added that, “The Data Governance Act should empower consumers to be in control of their personal data and ensure they benefit from sharing data. MyData Global counts over 23 Data Operators – or data intermediaries as they are called in the Data Governance Act. As this EU legislation describes, they are crucial in making personal data management through trusts and unions the new norm. MyData Data Operators offer a vision for a human-centric internet that gives control of data back to the users as well as benefits such as services, convenience and rewards from sharing it.”

Streamr is one of the companies certified by MyData as an official Data Operator. Shiv Malik, Head of Growth at Streamr, said: “The EU’s Data Governance Act lays the groundwork for a strong, trusted European data ecosystem. As an open source infrastructure builder for Data Unions and cooperatives, this new legislative framework will enable us to power ahead and support organisations that represent people, rather than venture capitalists in Silicon Valley.

By ensuring that new organisations are legally obliged to represent their users’ interests when it comes to sharing and monetizing their data, this act also signals the death knell for today’s failed data brokering economy, where most companies are forced to spy on users to obtain their data in order to make money.”

Beyond Europe, we are currently witnessing similar developments in the US, in particular California’s recent vote on proposition 24 during last week’s presidential elections. This result marks a big stepping stone towards data ownership. The efforts towards the proposition were led by former presidential candidate Andrew Yang and his team who are also leading the Data Dividend project which aims to share data revenue with internet users via a digital tax.

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