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Friday, February 23, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

EU Touts Single Digital Experience for All

(CN) - The European Commission laid down its blueprint for a single digital market for the EU on Wednesday, in a bid to dump the patchwork of 28 different rules that currently govern the continent's technology sector.

Ahead of its formal strategy for a single, EU-wide digital market due in May, the EU's regulatory and administrative body laid out its three goals to streamline citizens' experience on the Internet.

Currently, each of the 28 member states has its own rules and procedures governing the digital world. This has hampered everything from e-commerce to copyright enforcement, and citizens regularly encounter problems using digital services that aren't available in the member state where they live, the commission said.

"Europe cannot be at the forefront of the digital revolution with a patchwork of 28 different rules for telecommunications services, copyright, IT security and data protection," said digital economy and society commissioner Gunther Oettinger. "We need a European market, which allows new business models to flourish, start-ups to grow and the industry to take advantage of the internet of things."

Digital single market vice president Andrus Ansip agreed, noting that EU citizens are already free to cross physical borders continent-wide.

"Let us do away with all those fences and walls that block us online. People must be able to freely go across borders online just as they do offline," he said. "Innovative businesses must be helped to grow across the EU, not remain locked into their home market. This will be an uphill struggle all the way, but we need an ambitious start. Europe should benefit fully from the digital age: better services, more participation and new jobs."

To achieve this, the commission proposes to end geo-blocking, which either bars users from one member state from logging on to an e-commerce site in another state or reroutes them to their local site with different prices.

Regulators also say they need to modernize copyright law to improve access to culture while balancing the rights of artists.

A second component of the commission's plan involves infrastructure improvements to boost spectrum and alleviating consumers' privacy concerns, while the third seeks to involve industry, healthcare and government in the digital mix.

The digital single market is one of 10 commission "priorities" for 2015, which also includes hammering out a long-elusive free trade agreement with the United States.

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