What does this cover?

Back in May 2015, the European Commission (EC) revealed its Digital Single Market Strategy for Europe (the Strategy). We reported on this announcement at the beginning of June. Considered in the Strategy document were various barriers to the development of a digital single market and the Strategy set out a number of proposed activities aimed at the advancement of new digital networks as well as the promotion of the digital economy within the EU. Three of the key actions comprised: 

  1. Maximising the growth potential of our European Digital Economy; 
  2. Better access for consumers and businesses to online goods and services across Europe;
  3. Creating the right conditions for digital networks and services to flourish.

On 24 September 2015, with the Strategy document action to ensure "Better access for consumers and businesses to online goods and services across Europe" in mind, the EC announced the launch of the 'Geo-blocking and other geographically-based restrictions when shopping and accessing information in the EU' consultation. This exercise is aimed "at gathering views and opinions on the different restrictions faced by users, consumers and businesses when they access or provide information, shop or sell across the borders in the European Union". This consultation is predicted to close around December 2015. 

The EC also announced, in its aim of "Creating the right conditions for digital networks and services to flourish", the consultation 'Regulatory environment for platforms, online intermediaries, data and cloud computing and the collaborative economy'. This consultation seeks to establish "a comprehensive assessment on the role of platforms, covering the social and economic role of online platforms, transparency (e.g. in search results), terms of use, ratings and reviews, the use of information by platforms, the relation between platforms and their suppliers, the conditions of switching between comparable services offered by platforms, and the role of online intermediaries, including ways to tackle illegal content on the Internet". This consultation also has a predicted closure date of December 2015. 

To view the EC consultation on geo-blocking, please click here.

To view the EC Regulatory environment consultation, please click here.

What action could be taken to manage risks that may arise from this development?

Companies to consider whether they wish to participate in the EC consultations described. Both consultations close around December 2015.