The Data Act is coming

Dear friends, readers and Volters,

Today, the European Parliament will vote on the Data Act, a law that we have worked very hard on.

Why is it so important?

The Data Act is a game changer for all products connected to the internet. It applies to a fridge, a car, a windmill and even an airplane. It determines who has the right to the data that all those products collect. This is about money, but also about power and self determination.

It creates possibilities for users to exercise their right of ownership over this data, and the rights to share it with whomever they want or even sell it! But this law also helps smaller businesses (like craftsmen or coffee shops) to get a level-playing field versus manufacturers and bigger competitors.

For the first time, we have a law to address rights to industrial data, which is mostly machine-generated and does not make an individual person identifiable. Especially in industry and civil infrastructure, we are talking about huge, sometimes very valuable data sets. This value has so far been often overlooked, because manufacturers were often the only ones who could access this data. With the Data Act, this will now change. New business models can emerge. I am very proud, because I strengthened that innovation potential even more by introducing a provision that gives users exclusive monetisation rights to data from their product (if you’re interested: it’s Article 4, paragraph 14).

To be clear, the Data Act stands alongside the law for personal data, the GDPR, it does not change it. The Data Act and GDPR together cover the entire scope of data, personal and non-personal. As a user, I now know which law contains which rules for both types of data. This creates much more clarity for everyone in my view.



I am proud to say that we left an important footprint on this law. Together with my advisor Johannes, I have pushed for the owner of the connected devices to be at the center of the decision-making about who can access the non-personal data his or her device produces.

That simply means that you, as a consumer, have the power.

If you want to, the data extracted from your machines and devices can be passed on to third-parties (like a repair shop), meaning that the manufacturer no longer has veto power here. This is a very important step from our point of view.

At the same time, it also means that these third-partiers (usually small and medium size businesses) can now directly approach customers and ask for access to their data to carry out repair or maintenance work, meaning that competition and innovation will flourish.


The Data Act will come into effect in 21 months from the official publication. That’s good, as it leaves everyone some time to adjust, but also means the rights we formulated will come into effect soon.

This is a ground-breaking digital law, and we are playing a pivotal part in it to change the rules of the game, making them more just and fair.

I am very excited to see how it will play out in real life. 

Are you interested in this topic? Let me know your opinion here.