Since November 2014 the German Council for Consumer Policy (SVRV) operates as a policy advisory board for the German Federal Ministry for justice and consumer protection (BMJV). On January 19, 2016 the SVRV presented its first report on “Consumer protection in the digital world”. The report contains recommendations and practical advice for policy makers on how to react to changes in the digital world in a consumer-friendly way.
Key topics of the report are:
- Finances: Mobile and data based technologies (i.e. online-banking via smartphone, e-commerce) make payment transactions more convenient for consumers, but at the same time present new challenges for consumer protection. Furthermore, changes in online counseling and information for financial products must be considered.
- Health: Electronic devices and innovations revolutionize medical care and contribute to a progressive digitalization in the health sector. eHealth and mHealth, self-measurement tools such as wearables and the collection of health-related information (“Big Data”) bear both opportunities and risks for consumers
- E-Commerce: Personalized offers and prices based on personal data are important aspects of today’s e-commerce and need to be considered when developing proposals for a online consumer policy.
Heiko Maas, minister for justice and consumer protection, commented on the SVRV-report as follows: “These recommendations show that we are well on track with our current policies. We will continue to promote high standards of data protection. In this regard we will pay special attention to the legal enforcement of data rights, for which we introduced the right for data protection associations to take collective legal action. Moreover, these proposals contain new impulses for our political agenda, which we will assess accordingly. We will have to deal with important topics such as e-commerce, but also the handling of health-related data.”