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“Setting the EU agenda for the digital consumer”


18 Mar 2010



ANEC calls for the new Strategy for the European Information Society 2010-2015 - the “Digital Agenda for Europe" - to be set by consumers, for consumers.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.

“With 114 million subscribers, the EU is the largest market for fixed internet broadband access. However, even if broadband is available to more than 90% of the population, only 50% of households effectively use it because it is too expensive or complicated to use1”, commented Stephen Russell, ANEC Secretary-General. “ANEC is concerned about a ‘Digital divide’ as many consumers, especially older people and people with disabilities, are still not reaping the benefits of the Information Society”.

He added: “ICT products and services, such as mobile phones and the Internet, play an increasing role in everyday life, from shopping on-line to listening to music to e-voting. Indeed, almost four out of five people consider access to the Internet to be a fundamental right2. However, although new technologies have potential to improve consumer welfare, by making a wider range of products and services available, they pose several challenges in terms of protection of traditional consumer rights in an on-line environment. These include data privacy and the access of all consumers to the latest products and services”.

For ANEC, it is essential that EU policy on the Information Society ensures the legal basis for consumer protection is equipped to cope with the challenges posed by the digital environment. As a consequence, ANEC believes it is vital that the standardisation process underpinning the implementation of ICT technologies ensures full and effective consumer participation and is not directed exclusively by the wishes of business.

This is the message ANEC will be delivering at the European Consumer Summit to be held today and tomorrow in Brussels (18-19 March), hosted by the European Commission.

More information:

Contact person at ANEC: Stephen Russell

Tel: +32(0)2 743 24 70