27 Sep 2016

Combating Consumer Discrimination in the Digital Single Market

Preventing Geo-Blocking and other Forms of Geo-Discrimination

Felice Simonelli

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The paper conducts a stocktaking exercise of the state of play in the Digital Single Market and offers a critical assessment of the most relevant initiatives to combat consumer discrimination. It gives an overview of discriminatory practices in the online environment and assesses the magnitude of the problem. Differences between justified and unjustified geo-blocking are discussed. An in-depth analysis of the European Commission’s proposals on geo-blocking, portability and parcel delivery and the investigation by DG Competition into the distribution of audiovisual content is then performed.

This document was prepared by Policy Department A at the request of the Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) of the European Parliament.  It is republished here on the CEPS website with the kind permission of the European Parliament and can also be downloaded directly from the Parliament’s website at http://www.europarl.europa.eu/thinktank/en/document.html?reference=IPOL_STU(2016)587315

The author presented his findings at the 8th Meeting of the IMCO Working Group on the Digital Single Market, 20 June 2016. A report summarising the discussion at this meeting can be downloaded here (see in particular pp 9-10 and pp 27-34). The report explains the exchange of views between MEPs, the European Commission and experts on the topic of boosting ecommerce and combatting consumer discrimination in the Digital Single Market.

Felice Simonelli is a Research Fellow at CEPS.

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