17 December 2020
Google’s Fitbit takeover: EU merger control proves unable to protect consumers in the digital economy
BEUC, representing the interests of consumers in 32 European countries, deeply regrets that the European Commission’s decision to approve Google’s takeover of wearable fitness device company Fitbit lacks enough force to protect consumers, now and in the future. Even if the current remedy package represents an improvement compared to Google’s first offer, it is insufficient to ensure effective competition in wearables and digital health, which are becoming increasingly important in consumers’ lives.
16 December 2020
BEUC welcomes the European Commission’s plans to explore options for a new cybersecurity law in its cybersecurity strategy, published today. Such a long awaited law could ensure that producers of connected products have to respect a number of minimum security requirements.
15 December 2020
The European Commission today put forward its plans to update the EU’s rules about digital services such as those offered by online search companies (e.g. Google), e-shops (e.g. Amazon) and social networks (e.g. Facebook). It also proposes legislation detailing dos and don’ts for so-called digital gatekeepers and new powers to investigate markets these companies operate on. The European Consumer Organisation (BEUC) supports this long-awaited legislation that would make digital players more accountable, protect consumer rights and lead to more choice of innovative digital services. We therefore welcome these proposals but the European Parliament and the EU Council must ensure the legislation goes further, particularly in relation to liability of online marketplaces to protect consumers and future-proof measures to address the problems created by online gatekeepers. The Parliament and Council must therefore resist the huge lobbying efforts of Big Tech companies to dilute these proposals.
Our work areas
The internet has come to be a central element of the commercial, personal and professional lives of European consumers. While the digital environment grows bigger and more important, it must be remembered that consumers deserve as much protection online as they do offline.
For consumers to reap the benefits of the digital era, the protection of people’s privacy and personal data is at the forefront of our work. We also strive to ensure consumers have guaranteed and affordable access to the internet. We work to ensure that the openness and neutrality of the internet is protected. We advocate to strengthen consumer rights so that consumers for example enjoy competitive, fair, clear and transparent contracts. Besides this, without cybersecure digital tools and services consumers’ physical security and safety is at risk.
Despite its borderless character, consumers are confronted with content access restrictions depending on their nationality or country. Our work is to ensure consumers have access to a vibrant market of affordable legal offers for music and audiovisual content across Europe.
E-commerce shops, booking sites and social media play a pivotal role in people’s lives but very often consumers are harmed because of scams, unsafe products sold online and misleading practices. We therefore aim to make platforms more responsible for their offers and services.
Artificial intelligence is changing our societies. It evokes big promises to make consumers’ lives easier and better but comes along with many concerns. Consumers are at risk of becoming subject to discriminatory treatment and non-transparent decisions. Our aim is to ensure that the development and use of AI is adequately regulated and that consumers have strong rights so that they are protected and can reap the benefits of the digital transformation of our societies.
- Ensure consumers enjoy a high level of personal data protection and online privacy.
- Ensure the Telecoms Single Market delivers to consumers’ expectations on fair competition, better pricing, stronger consumers’ rights and affordable and secure access to the full internet.
- Make online platforms responsible for the products and services they offer. Those who benefit financially from illegal activities need to be accountable and have obligations too.
- The introduction of a horizontal cybersecurity law that would lead to connected products meeting certain minimum requirements before they hit the market.
- Put in place a strong set of AI consumer rights for instance on accountability, transparency and control of AI.