The Legal Framework for Data and Consumer Protection in Europe

The Legal Framework for Data and Consumer Protection in Europe

Charles O’Mahony (Law Reform Commission of Ireland, Ireland)
Copyright: © 2009 |Pages: 21
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-012-7.ch017
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This chapter will discuss the legal framework for consumer and data protection in Europe. Central to this discussion will be the law of the European Union (EU) on data and consumer protection.3 Recent years have seen the creation of legal frameworks in Europe which seek to secure the protection of consumers while simultaneously facilitating economic growth in the European Union. This chapter will outline the main sources of law which protect consumers and their privacy. This chapter will outline the important provisions in these sources of law and critically analyse them. The chapter will also point up the gaps and deficiencies in the consumer and data protection legal structures.
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The European Union And Legislative Initiative

The European Union (EU) has become the driving force for the initiation of policy development in many diverse areas for its member states. Data and consumer protection are cogent examples of this. The concept of European Union can be confusing, therefore it is perhaps best at this point to describe the method by which the EU can direct this change.

The EU was created as recently as 1993 by the Treaty on European Union. The EU is an overarching entity which contains three-pillars, the pre-existing European community (EC) pillar, the justice and home affairs pillar and the common foreign policy and security policy pillar.5 The concept of a common market is a fundamental aim of the European Union and its policies have been heavily influenced by this. Under Article 211 EC, the European Commission has been given extensive powers such as its right of legislative initiative to ensure the proper functioning and development of the common market. There are three modes of community lawmaking employed by the commission: regulations, directives, and decisions for a more lengthy discussion on community law-making (Craig & de Búrca, 2003).

Regulations are binding upon and are directly applicable in all member states. Directives may not be applicable to all member states and are binding only on the end to be achieved and leave flexibility with the member states on the mode by which this “end” is achieved. Decisions are binding in their entirety on those to whom they are addressed under Article 249 (ex Article 189) EC.

The European Union has provided a legal framework for e-commerce. The creation of this framework through a series of directives tied in with the goal of creating a European single market (Directive 2000/31/EC [2000] O.J. L178/1 and Directive 1999/93/EC [1999] O.J. L13/12). The rationale of the European Commission in bringing forward these directives was to inspire confidence in e-commerce. These directives were introduced to facilitate the development and expansion of e-commerce and the content of these directives do not limit or restrict e-commerce (Keller & Murray, 1999; Anassutzi, 2002).These directives primarily dealt with the following issues:

  • The legal status of electronic contracts and digital signatures

  • The legal liability of intermediary service providers

  • The freedom to provide services

Complete Chapter List

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Table of Contents
Kuanchin Chen, Adam Fadlalla
Chapter 1
Andrew Pauxtis
What began as simple homepages that listed favorite Web sites in the early 1990’s have grown into some of the most sophisticated, enormous... Sample PDF
Google: Technological Convenience vs. Technological Intrusion
Chapter 2
Angelena M. Secor
In this chapter, consumer online privacy legal issues are identified and discussed. Followed by the literature review in consumer online privacy... Sample PDF
A Taxonomic View of Consumer Online Privacy Legal Issues, Legislation, and Litigation
Chapter 3
Hy Sockel, Louis K. Falk
There are many potential threats that come with conducting business in an online environment. Management must find a way to neutralize or at least... Sample PDF
Online Privacy, Vulnerabilities, and Threats: A Manager's Perspective
Chapter 4
Thejs Willem Jansen
Governments and large companies are increasingly relying on information technology to provide enhanced services to the citizens and customers and... Sample PDF
Practical Privacy Assessments
Chapter 5
Leszek Lilien, Bharat Bhargava
Any interaction—from a simple transaction to a complex collaboration—requires an adequate level of trust between interacting parties. Trust includes... Sample PDF
Privacy and Trust in Online Interactions
Chapter 6
Huong Ha, Ken Coghill
The current measures to protect e-consumers’ privacy in Australia include (i) regulation/legislation; (ii) guidelines; (iii) codes of practice; and... Sample PDF
Current Measures to Protect E-Consumers' Privacy in Australia
Chapter 7
Anil Gurung, Anurag Jain
Individuals are generally concerned about their privacy and may withhold from disclosing their personal information while interacting with online... Sample PDF
Antecedents of Online Privacy Protection Behavior: Towards an Integrative Model
Chapter 8
Alan Rea, Kuanchin Chen
Protecting personal information while Web surfing has become a struggle. This is especially the case when transactions require a modicum of trust to... Sample PDF
Privacy Control and Assurance: Does Gender Influence Online Information Exchange?
Chapter 9
Bernadette H. Schell, Thomas J. Holt
This chapter looks at the literature—myths and realities—surrounding the demographics, psychological predispositions, and social/behavioral patterns... Sample PDF
A Profile of the Demographics, Psychological Predispositions, and Social/Behavioral Patterns of Computer Hacker Insiders and Outsiders
Chapter 10
Chiung-wen ("Julia") Hsu
This chapter introduces a situational paradigm as a means of studying online privacy. It argues that data subjects are not always opponent to data... Sample PDF
Privacy or Performance Matters on the Internet: Revisiting Privacy Toward a Situational Paradigm
Chapter 11
Tom S. Chan
While delivering content via the Internet can be efficient and economical, content owners risk losing control of their intellectual property. Any... Sample PDF
Online Consumer Privacy and Digital Rights Management Systems
Chapter 12
Betty J. Parker
Marketing practices have always presented challenges for consumers seeking to protect their privacy. This chapter discusses the ways in which the... Sample PDF
Online Privacy and Marketing: Current Issues for Consumers and Marketers
Chapter 13
Suhong Li
The purpose of this chapter is to investigate the current status of online privacy policies of Fortune 100 Companies. It was found that 94% of the... Sample PDF
An Analysis of Online Privacy Policies of Fortune 100 Companies
Chapter 14
Andy Chiou
In this chapter, the authors will briefly discuss some cross cultural concerns regarding Internet privacy. The authors believe that due to the cross... Sample PDF
Cross Cultural Perceptions on Privacy in the United States, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Taiwan
Chapter 15
Sean Lancaster
Biometrics is an application of technology to authenticate users’ identities through the measurement of physiological or behavioral patterns. The... Sample PDF
Biometric Controls and Privacy
Chapter 16
G. Scott Erickson
This chapter focuses on the specific issue of the federal Freedom of Information Act and associated state and local freedom of information laws.... Sample PDF
Government Stewardship of Online Information: FOIA Requirements and Other Considerations
Chapter 17
Charles O’Mahony
This chapter will discuss the legal framework for consumer and data protection in Europe. Central to this discussion will be the law of the European... Sample PDF
The Legal Framework for Data and Consumer Protection in Europe
Chapter 18
Karin Mika
This chapter provides an overview of law relating to online and Internet medical practice, data protection, and consumer information privacy. It... Sample PDF
Cybermedicine, Telemedicine, and Data Protection in the United States
Chapter 19
J. Michael Tarn
This chapter explores the current status and practices of online privacy protection in Japan. Since the concept of privacy in Japan is different... Sample PDF
Online Privacy Protection in Japan: The Current Status and Practices
About the Contributors