Fourth convention of e-commerce: the orientation of the EU

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The 14th of November, in a convention co-organized by EMOTA (European multichannel and online trade association) and EDiMA (European digital media association), many important representatives of e-commerce have treated subjects about the role of e-commerce in the near future. Among these, M Pat Rabbitte,  Irish minister of telecommunications, M Krawczyk, senior director and counsel government Relations Europe from EBay, Marisa Jimenez, from Google’s European privacy policy counsel ; and so many others.

The morning: The EU vision, the next steps of e-commerce

 E-commerce has been detected by Europe policymakers. M Rabbitte stressed this again a few weeks before the Irish presidency of the commission. Indeed, with sustainable development, resolution of the actual crisis, and employment issues, ICT, especially e-commerce for the second and the third goal, seems to be the solution. As a matter of fact, he emphasized the main points which were discussed in the convention: Regulation, cross-border e-commerce and banking transactions, data protection and consumers’ confidence.

The next speakers all agreed about more federalization, improving consumer’s confidence, more harmonization… but still in the way of community, consumer as business (e.g. the invitation of Pierre Delsaux, for proposals from professionals about cross-border delivering). Contrary to the other alliances, EU remains divided by the language of course, but more important, divided about the digital offer, and legislation (Making less transparent and difficult to understand cross-border operations and a lack of confidence). According to all of them, that’s already too much, that’s why EU needs to look at the same direction: Harmonization, transparency, improvement of payment security and regulation accompanied with dialog were the three keywords of the Europe’s orientation about e-commerce.

The afternoon: The problems of cross-border e-commerce, payment and data protection

Why a delivery between Lille and Marseille is cheaper than between Lille and Brussels? How does the e-payment system work if I want to buy a pair of shoes from England? What kind of guarantee do I have if my product doesn’t fit/work?

Only 36% of people trust to cross-border e-commerce according to a study. This is mainly due to these questions that the consumer is asking without getting any answer.

About the solutions, it appeared clearly that legislation had not only the aim at being worth in terms of security and concerning delivery, logical, but it also has to be clear to permit the consumer to understand easily the system. Other proposition, create harmonized European labels, trust marks, obtained under conditions in order to ensure transparency and confidence. We also need a consumer’s protection rights more harmonized, to prevent the consumer as the businessman to wonder which legislation applies, given that being specialist  in a European consumer’s law implies mastering 27 different legislations…

The finale of the convention was about the new data protection’s directive about to come. About cookies, tracking, analytics… Who else is more concerned about a society using this, and make of it its added value, than Google?  Indeed, the consumer is more and more concerned about the use of data he gives. According to a study in France, Germany and GB, more than 60% of consumers know what a cookie is. They’re aware of the internet tracking and some stop a payment procedure when they have too many information to give. 4 points have been identified:

–        Modern rules

–        Consistent internal market approach

–        Rules easy to understand and apply

–        Rules which have to be also clear for third countries of the EU

To be applied efficiently, all the instances of the G29 (the data protection authorities of the 27 member states) must have the same power, which isn’t the case nowadays. Of course, there are already differences of treatment about collection of data. Indeed, for example, G+, Google’s social network, doesn’t collect the same data when the user is between 13 and 17 than an adult.

It’s 5:00 p.m. and the convention ends. What we must remember is that e-commerce is about to move and to be regulated by new directives. These new directives will protect the consumer more than before and help him by transparency of the system, harmonization, e-payment security and simplicity, in order to prove him that e-commerce will always be safer year after year and to eliminate any lack of trust. But, can trust be really enforced by the law?

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