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Public consultation on the regulatory environment for platforms, online intermediaries, data and cloud computing and the collaborative economy

Public consultation on the regulatory environment for platforms, online intermediaries, data and cloud computing and the collaborative economy
Published on: 24/09/2015 Last update: 23/12/2015
Deadline: 06/01/2016
Today the Commission is launching a public consultation on platforms, online intermediaries, data, cloud computing and the collaborative economy. The Commission wants to hear from citizens, manufacturers, retailers (especially SMEs), right holders, data and cloud service providers and users, and all those involved in the collaborative economy.

This consultation seeks evidence and input for the Commission's comprehensive analysis of the role of online spaces where providers and users of content, goods and services can meet (such as internet search engines, social media, knowledge and video-sharing websites, news aggregators, app stores and payment systems).

The consultation looks into the role of platforms in online content distribution. It also explores how to handle illegal online content (for example hate speech, child abuse content or content that infringes intellectual property rights), how far and in what way online intermediaries should respond, and what duty of care intermediaries may have towards their users.

This is the first step in the Commission's examination of the issues around platforms, and will feed into a comprehensive assessment on the role of platforms and intermediaries planned for the first part of 2016.

Information gathered through questions on data and cloud in digital ecosystems will feed into the Commission's 2016 initiative to tackle restrictions to the free movement of data within the EU and help the Commission formulate its European Cloud initiative.

Finally the consultation looks into the possibilities and potential issues raised by the rise of the collaborative economy. It seeks views around the role of platforms in the collaborative economy and their impact on rights and liabilities, existing suppliers, innovation and consumer choice. The Commission is exploring this as part of the Digital Single Market Strategy and also more widely in the context of the Internal Market Strategy for Goods and Services, due in the autumn 2015. The outcome of this consultation will provide important input for further work on a European approach to the collaborative economy.

The consultation will run until 6 January 2016 (for a 12-week period starting on the date when consultation texts were published in all official languages).

Background

The Commission's plan for the Digital Single Market (DSM) aims to tear down regulatory walls and finally move from 28 national markets to a single one which could bring €415 billion per year to our economy and create hundreds of thousands of new jobs. The DSM plan consists of 16 targeted initiatives to create better access for consumers and businesses to digital goods and services across Europe; creating the right conditions and a level playing field for digital networks and innovative services to flourish; and maximise the growth potential of the digital economy.