Access to an internet connection

EU citizens must have the possibility to access a minimum set of electronic communications services of good quality at an affordable price. This is also known as the 'universal service' principle.

Use of services of your choice

Everyone in the EU shall be able to access and distribute any information, and to run any application and service of their choice through electronic communication networks. This is also known as the principle of 'open and neutral character of the internet'.


When EU consumers try to access services online, service providers shall not apply less favourable conditions on grounds of their Member State of residence unless the differences are justified by objective criteria.

Protection of personal data

In the EU, personal data protection is a fundamental right enshrined in the Lisbon Treaty and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. Every EU citizen has the right to adequate protection of his personal data. These general data protection rights also apply online, where individuals have in addition the following rights:

  • To be fully informed and give their agreement if a website stores and retrieves information from their terminal equipment or wants to track them when they surf the internet;
  • Confidentiality of their online communications, such as emails;
  • To be notified if their personal data held by their Internet Service Provider has been compromised, e.g. lost or stolen, and their privacy is likely to be adversely affected;
  • Not to be sent unsolicited commercial communications, known as 'spam', unless they have given their agreement.



Team responsible
13 December 2012
Last update: 
9 May 2017