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On 9 December 2021, the European Commission submitted an eagerly awaited proposal for a directive to improve the working conditions of people working through digital labour platforms. The proposal comprises three targets: combatting false self-employment, creating more transparency and fairness as well as introducing comprehensive information duties.

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On 23 November 2021, the EU Parliament’s Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection voted on the proposal on the Digital Markets Act.

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On 8 November 2021, the European Parliament held a public hearing with Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen. Haugen reiterated her serious allegations against Facebook and called the corporation’s platforms a threat to democracy. Hence, Haugen emphatically welcomed the efforts by the EU to submit technology companies to more stringent regulations.

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Just a click and a Deliveroo cyclist delivers a fresh meal to our front door, an Uber driver takes us from A to B and a Helpling cleaner tidies our home. Platforms and the use of these services have become an inseparable part of our lives. However, over all this comfort we are only too ready to ignore the issue concerning the working conditions of these service providers.

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The draft regulation on Artificial Intelligence (AI), which the Commission presented in April 2021, is currently the focus of intense debate by the EU Parliament and the Council. Whilst the creation of a regulatory framework for AI is to be welcomed in general, from AK’s point of view, however, the Regulation does not go far enough in many respects. Above all, important protective mechanisms for employees and consumers are missing.

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Following the White Paper on Artificial Intelligence, the Commission presented a draft regulation on Artificial Intellicence (AI) in April 2021. While the creation of a regulatory framework for AI is to be welcomed in principle, the proposed regulation does not go far enough in many areas from the point of view of AK.

 

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The use of biometric applications is becoming increasingly common in our everyday life. Many regard finger scans, face or voice recognition as a harmless and secure type of identification; however, the use of biometric data also carries risks such as data misuse and identity theft. An event organised by AK EUROPA and BEUC makes it clear: the safety of consumers must be guaranteed as personal biometric characteristics – in contrast to passwords– cannot be changed or deleted.

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The 36-year-old Product Liability Directive no longer reflects technological developments. The use of algorithms, artificial intelligence (AI) or smart devices (IoT) in everyday consumer life was a pipe dream in 1985. Digitalisation risks are thus not covered by product liability.

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Daniela Zimmer

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Using biometric data like finger scans, facial or voice recognition as a replacement for passwords is becoming more and more common. The supposed advantages of biometric data such as an easy and unique verification method weigh heavy, and many find it a harmless and safe norm for identification and authentication. However, the use of biometrics comes with a risk of data abuse and identity theft. It is therefore crucial to secure consumer safety because you cannot change or delete your biometric features.

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Daniela Zimmer

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The digital arms race has already begun. Countries worldwide are actively investing to ensure that their industries are able to compete successfully on a global basis.