The Swedish authorities circulated an choices paper searching for member states’ steerage on a number of the most controversial factors of the brand new information regulation, specifically the SMEs exemption, B2G information sharing and commerce secrets and techniques.
The Knowledge Act is a landmark legislative proposal to control information sharing. The earlier Czech presidency superior the file, however some important points stay open.
Because the flip of the yr noticed the Swedes take over on the helm of the EU Council for the subsequent six months, Stockholm requested the opposite nations for suggestions on essentially the most important pending points.
“The Presidency invite the Member States to present their opinion on a couple of subjects the place steerage is required to maneuver ahead in an environment friendly approach,” reads the paper, seen by EURACTIV.
The paper was introduced on the first Working Celebration assembly of the yr on Tuesday (10 January) and will probably be mentioned subsequent Tuesday. The representatives of EU governments had till Thursday to submit their written feedback.
The discussions and feedback would be the foundation for a subsequent compromise textual content, which has been tentatively scheduled for 31 January.
Some member states are historically cautious to not overburden small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with extreme pink tape. Due to this fact, the extent to which these corporations ought to be excluded from some components of the Knowledge Act has been a contentious level.
Concerning information sharing obligations, a basic a part of the proposal, the unique model excluded solely micro and small corporations.
The Czechs proposed extending this exemption to medium-sized companies which have launched a product available on the market for lower than one yr and firms which have grown to medium measurement for lower than a yr.
The Swedish presidency supplied three choices: Going again to the preliminary wording, sustaining the Czech compromise or eradicating the exemption altogether.
One other query is contractual equity, because the preliminary proposal contains an article that mechanically annuls unfair contractual preparations unilaterally imposed on SMEs. Right here the query is that if this provision ought to be prolonged to all contractual conditions, whatever the corporations’ measurement.
The Knowledge Act additionally introduces the chance for public our bodies to request entry to privately held information, often known as Enterprise-to-Authorities (B2G) information entry, below particular situations of exception want. Small and micro enterprises had been exempted from making such information obtainable.
Once more, the choices are to both keep issues as they’re, develop the exemption to some medium-sized corporations as per the information sharing half, or embody corporations of all sizes, with out exceptions.
B2G information sharing
Within the debate on the situations for public our bodies to entry non-public information, a hotly-contested side has been that of statistical workplaces. The paper notes that the member states have expressed completely different views on permitting extra entry energy to those our bodies.
The Czech presidency made the function of the statistical workplaces extra outstanding within the textual content. Therefore, the Swedes need to perceive if that may be a passable association for the member states.
Alternatively, statistical workplaces may be prevented from requesting information for distinctive wants, however they might nonetheless obtain the information from different public our bodies which have made such requests.
The third and closing choice is to exclude statistical institutes from the B2G obligations and tackle the matter in separate laws.
One other important problem is the way to outline public pursuits. The Czech presidency proposed that such distinctive requests might solely be justified primarily based on a selected job within the public curiosity explicitly offered by regulation.
The second choice would make the B2G a lot broader. The requirement that these data-sharing requests might solely be issued if there was no much less administrative-burdensome solution to receive the information can be restricted to the manufacturing of official statistics.
Lastly, the Swedish presidency supplied to delete the chance for public our bodies to request privately held information to fulfil a job within the public curiosity as soon as they’ve exhausted all different means to acquire such information.
Commerce secrets and techniques
To what extent the Knowledge Act’s obligations to share information ought to be restricted by commerce secrets and techniques can be a politically delicate problem.
Whereas giving corporations an excessive amount of discretion would offer an enormous loophole and invalidate the entire laws’s objective, a number of member states requested for stronger safeguards to keep away from the regulation forcing them to reveal confidential info.
The Czechs tried to operationalise these requests by proposing that not solely the person who receives the information ought to defend the commerce secrets and techniques but in addition third events that obtain it at a later stage. Nevertheless, this measure has been criticised for being unrealistic to implement.
Another choice is to “additional make clear the confidentiality obligations of knowledge customers and third events, in relation to commerce secrets and techniques.” Lastly, the Swedes requested EU nations in the event that they wished to place forth another answer.
[Edited by Nathalie Weatherald]