12 ways Europe's digital reforms will affect e-commerce
If your business is digital, it might be subject to several changes, a leaked EU report reveals
Europe is busy putting its ‘Single Digital Market’ programme together, and it is set to change how customers and businesses in Europe use the internet to sell wares, segment markets by nationality, use cloud, deliver parcels and use the big data available in our increasingly connected world. Having seen the leaked draft of the report, ComputerworldUK breaks down the main impacts Europe’s legislation could have on your website, and your entire business.
1. 1, Big data
The gold rush could be over. The EU wants to change the way that customer information is used – particularly in regards to Google and Facebook. This could affect all businesses that use customer information to sell advertising or sell to partners.
The days of geo-fencing customers based on their nationality may be over. Europe believes the “unjustified” tactic of segmenting markets is giving customers a bad deal, and is looking into cutting it under a new e-commerce framework.
3. 3. Free flow of data
Europe wants data to flow more easily across member states. That means researching and implementing a strategy to port non-personal customer information in a standardised way regardless of the country. It will also make switching cloud providers easier under its EU Cloud initiative.
4. 4. Parcel delivery
A core component of e-commerce is delivery and complicated cross-border rules are hampering SMEs online. Europe wants to make this easier by reducing the VAT burden and contract law between member states.
5. 5. The Netflix conundrum
Viewers in different parts of the world have access to different content, despite paying the same price. This is often due to copyright law, and the EU doesn’t like it. It is proposing a review of copyright content law to ensure that users of on-demand services can see all of a service’s content despite their location.
6. 6. Online dispute resolution platform
The commission has called for a platform to easily solve online sales disputes that will be put in place in 2016.
7. 7. On-site advertising
The ‘Audiovisual Media Services’ directive will look at how online video and on-demand services adverts are served up as they are currently in a legal limbo. It will focus on advertising law and protection of minors.
8. 8. Paid-for links in search engines and switching platforms
The EU wants to put an end to constraints over moving from one platform to another. Some platforms can exert influence over the market, and the EU want to change this. Paid-for links, search engine's information collection and platform competition will all be addressed. The sharing economy is set to be affected by this.
9. 10. VAT
Telecos, broadcasters and electronic service providers benefit from a levy where the customer is based, rather than where the supplier is, as well as an e-registration and payment system to support it. That could be extended to all e-commerce under a larger general VAT reform for corporate tax on this new ‘single market’.
10. 11. Cyber security
The days of embarrassing Sony style avoidable hacks could be over. The EU will announce a public-private partnership on cybersecurity once the EU rules on data protection are adopted. It will beef up law enforcement and bring the Network and Information Security Directive into play.
11. 12. Interoperability
In essence, the ‘Single Digital Market’ is about standardisation. This will filter through to eHealth, transport and smart metering for utilities – bringing the IoT up to speed.