Consumer policies don’t usually get much attention from the media or in political debates, yet they affect realities that are the backbone of daily life for most citizens. From the moment we get up to the time we go to bed, we establish consumer relations, sometimes almost unconsciously, in which we have a series of rights.Read more
Internet and minors: Europe must react
In the digital economy we are all, several times a day, a product. Because if the product is free, the product is us. We’re all more or less aware of this reality, which years ago went unnoticed. But we are still acting as if we were blindfolded. An Internet search engine, our favourite social network, the blue dot we follow on the map when we visit another city… we think everything is free, but it isn’t. Paying with data is paying, and with our data large technology platforms, from the United States or China, are building empires that now border on monopolies.Read more
The dangers of big tech’s entry in the financial sector
Could the big tech companies launch an assault on the financial sector? For several years now, there have been clear indications that the group known as the GAFAs are interested in this business, but they still haven’t gone after it.Read more
Apple, privacy, and control of data
Without the free rein they had a few years ago in terms of control over data, the big tech companies have long been working on the concept of ‘privacy’, which has also become a marketing tool. Apple has taken this dispute very seriously, and in early June introduced a new concept on privacy for the clients of its cloud service, iCloud. It’s called Private Relay.Read more
Citizen participation and the future of the EU: An opportunity at the Conference on the Future of Europe
Two current phenomena – the cyclical change the EU has entered following Brexit and the outbreak of COVID-19 and the need to improve the participatory mechanisms in liberal democracies – largely explain the launch, at the end of 2020, of the Conference on the future of Europe. We can define this as a large forum which, over more than a year, gives European citizens a channel to express their positions and recommendations on major issues that are already marking the future of the Union and of the entire planet. This is a good opportunity, therefore, for citizen’s to participate in EU debates, which are often accused of being removed from societal realities.Read more
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.Read more
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.Read more
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.Read more