ConPolicy Newsletter 2019 - 5

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  News about ConPolicy

Consumer research forum about consumer informatics and consumer protection technologies
ConPolicy co-hosts forum and contributes to the debate

Tools that assist consumers to tailor their PC- and App-settings according to their preferences, Artificial Intelligence-based analytics that support consumer protection authorities to detect unfair contract terms or browser plug_ins that protect consumers from insecure online services. AI-based technologies and consumer protection technologies offer the potential to foster consumer policy objectives by means of digital technologies.

In today’s consumer research forum „Artificial Intelligence and consumer policy: Opportunities of consumer informatics“ experts discussed a range of questions: What are the potentials of consumer protection technologies in general and of AI in particular for consumer (policy)? What are examples for applications that already exist today and that might be developed in the near future? What are the potential risks that go along with these applications?

The forum was organized by the Forschungszentrum Verbraucher, Markt und Politik | CCMP in cooperation with the EUI and the ConPolicy-Institute for consumer policy and was hosted in the Consumer Protection Ministry in Stuttgart. At the event ConPolicy Director, Prof. Dr. Christian Thorun, gave an introductory address and highlighted the potential of consumer informatics as a new instrument of consumer policy. ConPolicy project manager, Dr. Sara Elisa Kettner, presented the results of the DATENSCHUTZscanner research project, which was financed by the German Federal Ministry for Research and Education.

New ConPolicy publication
Consumer protection technologies: An investigation into the potentials of new digital technologies for consumer policy

While the different positive and negative impacts of digitalization for consumers’ everyday lives gain much attention from both policy-makers and academia, the question on how digital technologies can be applied to better attain consumer policy goals has so far earned comparatively little consideration. 

In their paper Prof. Dr. Christian Thorun and Dr. Jana Diels try to fill this gap by analysing the potential of what they call consumer protection technologies. With this term they describe digital technologies that are used to foster consumer policy objectives. They then argue that these new digital technologies can significantly contribute to the attainment of priority consumer policy outcomes, namely consumer protection, consumer empowerment as well as consumer law and rights enforcement. The authors argue that both more awareness of consumer policy actors and academics for the potential of these digital technologies as well as a systematic review of consumer protection technologies are needed.

The article was published in the Journal of Consumer Policy.

  Consumer policy news

Consumer protection
New EU directive strengthens consumer rights when shopping online

The European Parliament adopted a new directive to adapt and better enforce EU consumer law as part of the New Deal for Consumers. In particular,... Read more

Personal Data
Facebook’s terms now clarify its use of consumer data

Following a dialogue with the Commission and national consumer protection authorities, Facebook has now updated its terms and services to clearly... Read more

Consumer protection
Toys are still the most dangerous group of consumer products

Today, the Commission released its 2018 report on the EU’s rapid alert system called ‘Safety Gate’ for dangerous non-food consumer products – formerly... Read more

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