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Published 1 February 2016
We reported in October 2015 on the European Commission's (EC) consultations on: (1) 'Geo-blocking and other geographically-based restrictions when shopping and accessing information in the EU'; and (2) 'Regulatory environment for platforms, online intermediaries, data and cloud computing and the collaborative economy'. The consultations closed in December 2015.
1. Platforms are beneficial
The Response makes clear that the Government supports platforms and platform innovation as – they are believed to provide benefits in consumer convenience and choice, as well as business benefits in terms of consumer reach and service efficiency. The government rejects any restrictions which might compromise these benefits.
2. A rejection of additional regulation
The Response makes it clear that the Government considers platforms to already be sufficiently regulated, but that such regulation might not be enforced as frequently as necessary. The Government considers that any additional regulation of platforms is a potential hindrance and would be too difficult to effectively apply because of the diversity of platform models. The Response states that "It is important to strive to minimise disproportionate burdens on business when considering regulatory action at either EU or domestic level. In that vein, industry-led alternatives to regulation – including self-regulation, standards and kitemarks – should be considered". It is also argued that, in any event, extra regulation is unnecessary; the government points out that platforms are already legally required to comply with the obligations of the Consumer Rights Directive and the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive.
The Response also comments on the promotion of personal data management systems, the removal of barriers to cloud uptake, and the sharing economy.
To view the Response, please click here.
At this stage, the EC is only considering the risks, benefits and requirements of digital platforms and technologies. Organisations should await the outcome of the EC consultation for the next steps prepared by the EC.
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