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.
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.
Looking at the credit market in Austria from the consumers’ perspective, one must admit that the objectives of the current Consumer Credit Directive clearly have been missed. AK has been observing marketing activities of Austrian lenders for many years and has also taken legal action on several occasions. Hardly any advertising with credit figures has complied with legal requirements. There are also many shortcomings regarding the credit information before the contract conclusion and its timely delivery. AK therefore proposes a simplification and streamlining of credit information points.
For weeks, energy prices at stock exchanges have been at record level. In order to counteract the huge economic and social impact of this rise on businesses and consumers, the Commission presented a toolbox of measures on 13 October 2021 to help Member States to tackle the immediate effects of the price increase.
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.
On 23 September 2021, Thierry Breton, Commissioner for Internal Market, presented a proposal for the harmonisation of chargers for electronic devices. This proposal shall aid consumers to limit costs and lessen inconveniences. Apart from that, less electronic waste shall help to reduce the environmental impact.
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.
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.
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.
AK EUROPA, the Brussels Office of the Austrian Federal Chamber of Labour and BEUC, the European Consumer Organisation would like to cordially invite you to our joint webinar "How safe is biometric data and what impact does it have on AI regulation?"