Europe and protection of the digital consumer: A challenge halfway met

Europe and protection of the digital consumer: A challenge halfway met

The standard profile of the European consumer is increasingly digital. This transformation process, which began years ago, has accelerated dramatically with the COVID-19 pandemic. It is precisely in the last year that transformation of the legislative framework that protects the European consumer has sped up. Last November, the European Commission published the New Consumer Agenda, a document defining key actions that need to be taken in this area, both at European and state level, over the next five years.

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Democracy and social networks: Pluralism without debate

Democracy and social networks: Pluralism without debate

Polarisation, discord, lies, distrust… Words that describe the current situation in our democracies, a time of “pluralism without debate” in Bernard Manin’s apt expression. The paradox of our time is that we continue to legitimise liberal democracy on the basis of a moral ideal that is increasingly remote from reality.

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City councils facing the digital transition: Barcelona proposes online delivery tax

City councils facing the digital transition: Barcelona proposes online delivery tax

The complex debate on taxation of large Internet platforms affects all levels, from the large institutions involved in global governance – such as the G20 and IMF – to city councils in cities that have around two million people, such as Barcelona. For a while now the Catalan city council has been working to implement a tax on home delivery of online purchases. The measure is after an essential objective: to defend the traditional commercial structure and small businesses from the rise of e-commerce, a market dominated by multinational platforms such as Amazon and AliExpress. 

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A digital levy in the EU: Our response to the European Commission consultation

A digital levy in the EU: Our response to the European Commission consultation

Last February, the European Commission opened a public consultation process as part of its work to create a digital levy in the EU. This is not only in response to the economic and business changes that have been accelerated by the pandemic, but also to bring order to the different initiatives from the Member States. Appropriate taxation for the digital economy, with its ability to break down political boundaries, is a matter of great global interest and a subject that both the G20 and the OECD are also working on. 

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Digitalization must transform health management now: We need a clear strategy

Digitalization must transform health management now: We need a clear strategy

The pandemic that has been raging for more than a year is dramatic proof of the weaknesses in health systems, even in the most developed countries. In Spain, whose situation during the first wave was particularly dramatic, recognized experts had warned even before coronavirus that the National Health System was overwhelmed, especially in the area of primary care and public health.

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Europe, facing regulation of the data economy: The dangers of a late, incomplete response

Europe, facing regulation of the data economy: The dangers of a late, incomplete response

The regulatory offensive being done by the European Union with the so-called ‘gatekeepers’ of the digital economy – the large Internet platforms – just might be a before and after in the unbalanced market position these enjoy. However, both the Digital Services Act and Digital Markets Act ignore a key element in regulating the use and exchange of personal data: an economic calculation of the consumer-digital relationship. 

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The ‘shadow value of personal data’: What value does something apparently “free” have for the consumer?

The ‘shadow value of personal data’: What value does something apparently “free” have for the consumer?

Various events are being held this week to celebrate World Consumer Rights Day, a day in which civil society and regulators defend the rights of citizens-consumers. This year, the date takes on a special relevance. This is because it is being held in the midst of major discussions within the European institutions that are designing one of the most important regulatory frameworks for the coming years, that is, the ‘Digital Acts’ regulatory package: DSA, DMA, and DGA.

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World Consumer Rights Day: Do big tech companies respect yours?

World Consumer Rights Day: Do big tech companies respect yours?

March 15 marks World Consumer Rights Day, a commemoration established by the United Nations in 1983. The choice of March 15 comes from a speech delivered on that day in 1962 by John Fitzgerald Kennedy. Speaking at the United States Congress, the then U.S. president defined the consumer as an essential element in the production process, recognising their political relevance and urging institutions to protect their rights.

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