IDP2014 (XI). e-commerce and consumer protection

Notes from the 10th Internet, Law and Politics Congress: A decade of transformations, organized by the Open University of Catalonia, School of Law and Political Science, and held in Barcelona, Spain, on 3-4 July 2014. More notes on this event: idp2014.

Chairs: Miquel Peguera. Senior Lecturer, School of Law and Political Science (UOC).

Electronic contracts with customers. Transposition to the Spanish regulation of the Directive 2011/83/UE of the European Parliament and Council
María Dolores Palacios González. Profesora Titular de Derecho Civil de la Universidad de Oviedo.

The modification of the Spanish RDL 1/2007 de 16 de noviembre, by the new Law 3/2014 de 27 de marzo with the aim to transpose the Directive 2011/83/UE on electronic contracts with customers has changed many of the conditions in the procedures of a contract such as the right to inform the customer, their right to cancel the contract, and the duties of the seller to deliver.

Though the aim of the Directive is the harmonization of the digital market, it does not seem that there will be an increase in contracting through the Internet, neither at the national nor at the international levels. We believe that this still depends more on sociological or psychological factors rather than on the regulatory framework.

Competitiveness, privacy and customer protection as pillars of the European common digital market.
Ramon Miralles, Coordinador de Auditoria y Seguridad de la Información. Autoridad Catalana de Protección de Datos.

If Europe needed a unique market, it was time to act and to have a roadmap. That was the idea behind the Digital Agenda for Europe.

Privacy and, especially, trust in the system were top priorities.

One of the problems of Europe is that it reacts very slowly.

It seems that the new trends in e-commerce will be determined by privacy and trust. Data protection, consumer protection and competition could be the core policies in e-commerce in Europe.

News in the right to information of the customer in electronic contracts
María Arias Pou. Directora de ARIAS POU Abogados TIC. Coordinadora de la Comisión de Menores de APEP. Profesora de Derecho de las Nuevas Tecnologías de la Universidad Europea de Madrid.

The new Directive on the rights of the customers implies some changes in the right to information of the customer in electronic contracts. Changes that, at their time, change again along the whole process of transposition to the Spanish regulatory framework.

The problem is that the regulation that applies is disperse, with three scenarios: a contract with a customer, at a distance, online. This mess actually challenges the principle of ‘minimum information’, which becomes worse when it has to be accessed through mobile devices during the process of informing the customer.

Breach of information duties in the B2C e-commerce. A comparative study of English and Spanish law
Zofia Bednarz. PhD candidate, Law Faculty, University of Málaga, Spain.

Electronic commerce plays nowadays a crucially important role in both professional and private activity of European consumers and businesses. The precontractual information duties are one of the factors that distinguish online contract formation between businesses and consumers from other ways of selling goods and services. The rules that apply to the e-commerce in the scope of the European internal market originate in two different legal systems, that is in the European law and in the national law. The aim of this study is to analyse and compare remedies available to consumers in the case of breach of information duties by the trader. The traditional contract law of Spain and England offers various remedies for not providing the other party with the due information. The interest in comparing those legal systems lies in the possible high number of cross-boarder transactions and the different nature of common and continental law. Even though the European legislation imposes numerous information duties, usually the remedies available for breach of those duties are left to the Member States’ internal law, and therefore the analysis of the remedies available in the internal national law results necessary. The remedies that will be analysed and compared in this study are, under English law, misrepresentation, fraudulent, negligent or innocent, mistake, breach of statutory duty and breach of contract, and in what refers to Spanish law, remedies for vices of consent, for culpa in contrahendo, and for breach of contract.

Internet of things and protection of the customer oriented to machine-to-machine processes
Jose Manuel Pérez Marzabal. Abogado. Consultor UOC.

How do we protect customers in the so-called Internet of Things? Is our regulatory framework prepared for the Internet of Things?

The Internet of Things will challenge matters of privacy, or (technological and personal) security. An imbalance in how we solve these challenges may incur in power imbalances. There is a growing risk of firms can take advantage of some procedures to abuse the customer.

The Internet of Things presents three main scenarios of added value: sensors, apps and cloud computing services. Depending on where business happens, regulation will necessarily have to adopt.

We need codes of behaviour and governance for application platforms.


10th Internet, Law and Politics Conference (2014)

8th Internet, Law and Politics Congress (VIII). Right to Be Forgotten

Notes from the 8th Internet, Law and Politics Congress: Challenges and Opportunities of Online Entertainment, organized by the Open University of Catalonia, School of Law and Political Science, and held in Barcelona, Spain, on 9-10 July 2012. More notes on this event: idp2012.

Communications on the Right to Be Forgotten
Chairs: Mònica Vilasau. Lecturer, School of Law and Political Science (UOC).

The Emerging Right To Be Forgotten In Data Protection Law: Some Conceptual And Legal Problems.
David Lindsay, Associate Professor, Faculty of Law, Monash University, Melbourne (Australia).

When looking at privacy, we have to look before at identity. For instance identity formation in social networking sites or virtual worlds. In liquid societies it seems that we have to compulsory be creating and reinventing our identities. The problem is that what once was used for identity purposes in a given context, if data lasts forever this may pose a problem in the future, when the identity issue is no more relevant and/or the context has changed.

Thus, a right to be forgotten should be the first one of a new group of rights concerning privacy and personal data. Though technological based solutions may not be solutions at all, but social constructs/contracts is what we actually need.

El poder de autodeterminación de los datos personales en Internet.
María Dolores Palacios González, Profesora Titular de Derecho civil, Universidad de Oviedo.

The goal of Law is trying to find a balance between opposing interests.

In the case of personal data explicit consent should be the norm — with the appropriate exceptions when access to data is a necessity and does not go against fundamental rights.

There is a risk of censorship if there is an unbalance towards privacy, and a risk of inefficiency in guaranteeing privacy if there is an unbalance towards freedom of expression.

Naming and Shaming in Greece: Social Control, Law Enforcement and the Collateral Damages of Privacy and Dignity.
Lilian Mitrou, Associate Professor, Department Information and Communication Systems Engineering, University of the Aegean (Greece).

Naming as the disclosure, publication and dissemination of the identity of a person, who is convicted or suspected of crime or tax evasion. Shaming is a private emotional reaction, an individualized experience. A social process of purposefully expressing disapproval and/or contempt with the intention or effect of provoking embarrassment, discomfort, anger and fear.

In Greece it is legal to disclose the identities of sex offenders, and mandatory for tax evaders. This supposes a moral condemnation both of the offensive conduct and the offender, implying social sanctions and serious impacts on the ability of a person to engage in society. Indeed, there is a collision between shaming and presumption of innocence, as usually naming and shaming comes before guiltiness is proven.

There is no statistical or practical evidence that shaming is appropriate, necessary and reasonable in order to achieve deterrent of crime, but there does exist evidence that shaming makes much more difficult social reinsertion.

A right of oblivion comes to hand.

As personal blogs and social media in general are very difficult to target, the goal of regulation and right to forget policies should be search engines.


8th Internet, Law and Politics Conference (2012)