The European Commission has launched public consultations on geo-blocking and the role of platforms in the online economy.
The public debate on geo-blocking will gather opinions about “unjustified commercial barriers, which prevent from buying and selling products and services within the EU,” said the EC.
The second consultation will look at platforms, online intermediaries, data, cloud computing and the collaborative economy.
As part of this, the EC will look at the role of platforms like search engines, social media, video sharing website, app stores and will investigate the “liability of intermediaries as regards illegal content hosted online and how to improve the free flow of data in the EU and to build a European Cloud.”
The EC said the platforms consultation will also look into the “possibilities and potential issues” raised by the rise of the collaborative economy.
The EC said it wants to hear from citizens, manufacturers, retailers, rights holders, data and cloud service providers and users, and “all those involved in the collaborative economy.”
“Platforms are part of a thriving digital economy but questions are also raised about their transparency and use of content. Geo-blocking too often reroutes or blocks consumers based on their nationality or place of residence; this is not helpful for fostering e-commerce since it frustrates the consumers, and it is even less helpful for increasing cross-border e-commerce which is to the benefit of both consumers and businesses,” said Andrus Ansip, European Commission vice-president for the Digital Single Market.
The EC said the feedback will help it to assess the need for or prepare initiatives as part of the Digital Single Market Strategy and the Internal Market Strategy for Goods and Services.