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September 25, 2015

Internet giants’ behaviour reviewed for EC regulation

News: Consultation will focus on geo-blocking and need for regulation.

By Alexander Sword

The European Commission (EC) has launched a public consultation on the behaviour of online companies to determine the need for regulation of the internet.

Citizens and businesses, especially SMEs, have been invited to take part in two surveys, one focusing on geo-blocking and the other on the economic role of online platforms.

The consultation on the economic role of online platforms, with Google, Amazon and Apple platforms provided as typical examples, asks whether respondents have experiences problems at the hands of the online providers.

It explores whether these problems should be left to market forces or whether regulation is needed to resolve them.

"Platforms are part of a thriving digital economy but questions are also raised about their transparency and use of content," said Andrus Ansip, European Commission Vice-President for the Digital Single Market.

The consultation excludes internet access providers, however.

The geo-blocking consultation, meanwhile, focuses on commercial barriers that exist between countries within the EU. This could include customers being charged different prices or being offered different goods depending on where they are.

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The plans are part of the EC’s goal of a Digital Single Market, which aims to move from 28 national markets to a single one. The EC estimates this could bring €415 billion per year to the economy and create hundreds of thousands of jobs.

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