The EU has proposed a new data act intended to complement its privacy and online content regulation efforts overall by creating a framework to regulate access to and trafficking in data generated by smart devices. In essence, the proposed legislation would set rules of the road for access to and conditions of use on data output from such devices, and prevent manufacturers from holding a monopoly on that data.
Why it Matters
Data as a commodity is not regulated heavily at present (anywhere in the world). The move by the EU would position data to be something valuable up and down the value chain and would create a starting position from which third parties and consumers could have access to IoT data for personal, competitive, and complementary uses. For example, a support marketplace for home maintenance might use data from smart devices such as connected water heaters, thermostats, lighting, cameras, or more. Currently, that data isn't readily accessible other than on the say-so of the manufacturers of the devices.
In addition, creating a new marketplace and competition within it would mean that companies trading in data will likely have new privacy compliance obligations.