Chapter News, News

From geo-blocking to cloud computing: EU Parliament’s guide to the digital age

Every day 315 million Europeans use the internet, but challenges still remain for consumers and companies alike. The European Commission presented its strategy for a digital single market on Wednesday 6 May. In addition Parliament and the Council agreed in June to ban roaming fees in 2017 and guarantee equal treatment for all internet traffic.

Read on for an explanation of the terminology involved.

Big data
Large volumes of data that can, for instance, include purchase transaction records or GPS signals. The Commission believes there are a number of important issues to be resolved when it comes to big data, such as determining ownership and protecting people’s personal data

Cloud computing
Data that is used, stored and processed on remotely located computers accessed over the internet. While benefits include convenience and often lower costs for consumers, risks could include sensitive data falling into the wrong hands.

Trading goods over the internet. According to the Commission, only 15% of consumers shop online with a trader based in another EU country as delivery costs prove to be a challenge.

The practice by some companies to unnecessarily stop consumers from using their on-line service in another country, often without justification, and to redirect traffic to a local store with different prices and products than those in other countries. During the July plenary MEPs set out their position on copyright reform, calling for ways to improve access to online content across borders, while recognising the importance of territorial licences, especially for TV and film productions.

Net neutrality
The principle that internet service providers should treat all online content, sites and platforms equally, for instance without blocking or slowing down on purpose competing websites or services. Parliament and the Council reached an informal deal on the telecom package in June, which includes guaranteeing net neutrality.

The ability to stay connected with a mobile device to make phone calls and to send and receive data when outside your network, most commonly when in a foreign country. Under the provisional deal on telecom package agreed in June, roaming fees on mobile calls, text messages and data usage will be banned from 15 June 2017.

Courtesy of the European Parliament.