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An EU Digital Agenda for consumers?


19 May 2010



In partially welcoming the new European Commission initiative “Digital Agenda for

Europe" -released today - ANEC reiterates its call for the Digital Agenda to be set

by consumers, for consumers.

In its position on the future strategy of the EU Information Society1, ANEC said that

consumers expect to be able to use Information Society products and services regardless of

their ages or abilities. They expect security in their transactions and no undue technical

restrictions. Hence accessibility, interoperability, privacy, security and sustainability must be

priorities of the next European Information Society strategy.

“It is with great interest and anticipation that we take note of the European Commission

plans to put interoperability, inclusion and consumer trust at the centre of the Digital Single

Market” said ANEC Secretary-General, Stephen Russell “In particular, we welcome the

adoption of the principle of ‘privacy by design’ to ensure the fundamental rights of privacy

and data protection are respected. We also welcome the commitment of the Commission to

make legislative proposals to ensure public sector websites are fully accessible by 2015. We

called for mandatory web-accessibility provisions to be adopted, bearing in mind the

barriers experienced by many consumers with disabilities in using the Internet”.

However, if the Digital Agenda is genuinely to serve the needs and interests of European

consumers, then the technical standards supporting it must be developed through an open

and transparent process. ANEC believes it vital for the standardisation process underpinning

the implementation of ICT technologies to ensure full and effective consumer participation in

order for it not to be directed exclusively by the wishes of business. 

“We shall therefore assess the intentions of the Commission to use certain global fora and consortia standards

in legislation and public procurement. However, we doubt the enhanced interoperability of

ICT products and services for all consumers can be achieved through the use of narrowconsensus

standards from such informal standards developers”, said Mr Russell.

More information:

Contacts at ANEC: Stephen Russell, Chiara Giovannini

Tel: +32(0)2 743 24 70