What is the problem? Lack of consumer trust

The Digital Agenda for Europe acknowledges the importance of building digital confidence and the difficulty for citizens to be fully aware and understand their existing rights in the digital environment. Today, consumers do not entirely trust cyberspace. Consequently, they are often afraid to take advantage of online services. Consumers will not shop online if they feel their rights are not protected.

Why is EU action needed? To increase confidence in the Digital Single Market

It is necessary to increase consumers' awareness about their protection when acceding and using online services. This will encourage consumers to conduct more activity online and will also contribute to the virtuous cycle of the digital economy, the results of which in terms of growth, jobs and innovation would be largely self-reinforcing.

Digital Agenda for Europe – Action 16 concerns the issuing of a Code of EU Online Rights by 2012 summarising the existing digital user rights in the EU in a clear and accessible way. The Code has been published in December 2012.

The objective of the Code of EU Online Rights is to enable citizens and consumers to find simple, codified explanations of their rights and obligations, set out in a transparent and understandable way.

Under European Union legislation, citizens in the EU already enjoy a series of rights that are relevant to the digital environment, such as freedom of expression and information, protection of personal data and privacy, requirements for transparency and universal functional internet services and a minimum quality of service. However, these rights are scattered across various laws and due to the complexity of the legal framework many online consumers might not be aware of them.

This is precisely the reason for establishing this Code: to make citizens aware of their minimum rights and the principles recognised in EU law when going online, being online, and when buying and consuming services online.

What has the Commission done so far ?

The Code of Online Rights has been published in December 2012.