BEREC recommends strengthening independence of enforcing bodies in Data Act
20 July 2022
Welcoming the draft Data Act proposed by the European Commission (EC), the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) has published a number of recommendations for the final version of the Data Act, including several measures for strengthening users’ rights and the independence of enforcing bodies.
BEREC has published a high-level Opinion with best practices and suggestions to contribute to the objectives of the Data Act, based on its experience of applying similar provisions in the telecommunications sector. BEREC welcomes the draft Data Act and its objectives, as it will generate benefits for both individual and business users. Making data available for their use and re-use, it will ultimately foster a competitive data market, supporting data-driven innovation.
The draft Data Act focuses on empowering users by ensuring their access to data in a transparent manner and suggests additional guarantees aimed to enhance the pre-contractual information obligation. BEREC widely shares this objective of the Act, since it considers that there might be a risk of users restricting or completely opting out of the use and sharing of data, if there is a lack of trust by them on the way their data is being handled.
BEREC underlines the importance of independent bodies to shape stable and predictable regulatory environments and proposes additional independence safeguards. As international cooperation between competent authorities will be key to a successful implementation of the Data Act, BEREC recommends establishing permanent cross-border cooperation mechanisms.
As European enterprises increasingly depend on data processing services to remain competitive, BEREC strongly welcomes the provisions to facilitate switching between data processing services. The reduction and eventual removal of switching charges will lead to increased competition in the data processing services market. This ensures freedom of choice for users and mitigates current issues caused by user lock-in, such as a loss of innovation incentives and market consolidation.
For the reinforcement of the dispute resolution mechanism in the Data Act, BEREC recommends establishing a binding procedure led by enforcing authorities, including publication of those decisions to enhance legal certainty. BEREC also emphasises the importance of prioritising the development of standards such as data spaces covering relevant sectors to contribute to the openness of the data economy, which will stimulate innovation in internet-based services and platforms as well as the contestability of the dominating platforms.