Colangelo, G. & M. MaggiolinoFrom fragile to smart consumers: Shifting paradigm for the digital era


Giuseppe Colangelo & Mariateresa Maggiolino

April 2019

Computer Law & Security Review, Volume 35, Issue 2, Seiten 173–181

The use of digital technologies, functioning thanks to data processing, has been conquering many sectors of the world economy and it is possible that, in the near future, only a few markets will still be excluded from this industrial revolution. Therefore, even if one chose unreasonably to disregard the many innovations that the digital economy has brought about, its development seems quite inexorable, although it is true that this new stage in human progress raises some concerns. In particular, many worry about the millions of passive and powerless digital consumers who, facing a few huge and influential companies without any education or awareness, could succumb and find themselves poorer, victimized, and manipulated. The paper proposes to react to this state of affairs without further fueling the fear of the digital revolution and without the thought that regulation can be used only as a shield to protect fragile digital consumers. Rather, by taking inspiration from some regulatory actions undertaken by the European Union, the paper bears in mind that regulation can be used as a sword in the hands of consumers to finally assign them a lead role in digital markets. New rules to empower consumers and to make them take autonomous and independent decisions as to the management of their personal data as well as to the merits of digital firms can be envisaged. After all, one of the cultural roots of Western societies is that every individual should be enabled to be faber ipsius fortunae.

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