ConPolicy Newsletter 2020 - 11



In today's issue ConPolicy informs you about: 

We wish you an exciting read!

Kind regards!

Your ConPolicy team

  News about ConPolicy

Report on account information and payment initiation services
New project for the Federation of German Consumer Organizations (vzbv) on the PSD2 in Germany

The last stage of the implementation of the PSD2 directive celebrates its 1st birthday. What is the current market for payment initiation and account information services? What advantages and disadvantages, or risks has the PSD2 created for consumers? Is there a need to improve the directive?

ConPolicy was commissioned by the Federation of German Consumer Organizations (vzbv) to examine these and other questions in an expert report. To this end, ConPolicy creates an exemplary market analysis, conducts expert interviews and a digital expert workshop and derives recommendations for further action.

Further information on the project can be found here.  

Accepting without reading is no solution – User-friendly web designs for online consent
ConPolicy presents at BMJV-Digital Conference

On October 29, 2020, the virtual BMJV-digital conference took place focusing on the topic "Accepting without reading is no solution – User-friendly web designs for online consent". After a welcome and introduction by the host, State Secretary Prof. Dr. Christian Kastrop, ConPolicy Managing Director Prof. Dr. Christian Thorun presented the results of the study "Innovative Privacy Consent Management".

The results were supported by contributions from corporate practice (Dr. Claus-Dieter Ulmer, Deutsche Telekom AG) and politics (MP Tabea Rößner, spokeswoman for network policy and consumer protection, Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen and MP Martin Rabanus, spokesperson for culture and media, SPD) who commented on results and gave an outlook. 

Subsequently, a panel discussion was held to discuss the potential of implementing a consent solution by companies. The panel discussion was attended by Marit Hansen (State Commissioner for Data Protection Schleswig-Holstein), Dr. Bernhard Rohleder (Managing Director of Bitkom e.V.), Lena-Sophie Müller (Managing Director of Initiative D21 e.V.) and Prof. Dr. Marian Margraf (Professor at the Free University of Berlin, Secure Systems Engineering Fraunhofer AISEC).

The results of the study may be found here (German).

More information on the project may be found here.

European Union's Resource Efficiency Initiative for India
Panel discussion on the role of consumers in the circular economy

ConPolicy project manager Dr. Annette Cerulli-Harms was invited as an expert on consumer behavior to join a panel discussion in India. Annette Cerulli-Harms discussed consumer engagement in the circular economy with other experts from behavioral research, the sharing economy and recycling.

Reliable product information on the expected durability and reparability of products are key, since consumers otherwise lack the basis for well-informed decisions. The discussion also underlined the importance of preserving existing know-how and infrastructure for repair. These are still widespread across India, but keep falling victim of innovation cycles and the desire for new products.

Politicians, manufacturers but also trendsetters such as influencers have a role in setting the right incentives for sustainable behaviors, to design products in the spirit of the circular economy and to keep them in the focus of new trends.

More information is available here.

Event for the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety
Virtual stakeholder dialogue "Sustainable consumption in a digitalized retail world"

On behalf of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU), ConPolicy has organized and conducted a stakeholder dialogue involving companies, science and civil society. The background to the stakeholder dialogue was the environmental digital agenda of the Ministry with its objective of orienting online trade more towards the goal of sustainable consumption.

The event took place on October 28, 2020, and was well received by around 70 participants. The institutes IÖW, ConPolicy and Ökopol presented current research projects in the field of sustainable consumption and online trade. Subsequently, a panel discussion explored ways to more sustainability in online trade. Participants in the panel discussion were Dr. Albrecht von Sonntag, founder and managing director of idealo, Benjamin Köhler, head of Corporate Social Responsibility at Otto, Christoph Wenk-Fischer, managing director of bevh, Prof. Dr. Tilman Santarius, Professor for Social-Ecological Transformation and Sustainable Digitization at the TU Berlin, and Dr. Ulf Jaeckel, head of division at BMU. The event was moderated by Prof. Dr. Christian Thorun, Managing Director of ConPolicy.

Presentation in the European Parliament
ConPolicy study on loot boxes in online games

On October 27, 2020, project manager Dr. Annette Cerulli-Harms presented the ConPolicy study on loot boxes in online games in the European Parliament. The study was carried out on behalf of the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO).

Loot boxes are surprise mechanisms in online games, which are usually obtained through gameplay or waiting, but which may be optionally accessed by paying real-work money. They contain game-relevant or cosmetic items.

Loot boxes have been discussed controversially in the past: some psychologists see them as a gateway to gambling, while other voices refer to them as digital surprise eggs.

The study defined and classified different types of loot boxes to determine which aspects of loot boxes could be potentially harmful. Additionally, it summarized the state of the art in research and possibilities to deal with lootboxes.

The focus of the presentation and question time in parliament was on the available policy options. The study recommends that the EU tackles loot boxes and other potentially harmful gaming practices with consumer policy instruments. For example, information on loot boxes could be improved, and transparency increased. The study advises against regulating loot boxes through gambling regulation, as the EU has only limited competences in this policy area. Isolated national decisions in this regard would compromise the internal market. The study also recommends verifying the effectiveness of new measures through further research.

Following the meeting, the parliament set up a working group on the subject. This group will consist of committee members from all political groupings with the aim of further discussing options for action to improve consumer protection in online games, especially for children and young people.

A summary of the study can be found here, the entire study can be downloaded here.

The recording of the presentation as well as the question time with the parliamentarians can be seen here (from minute 10:33). If you have any questions, please contact project manager Dr. Annette Cerulli-Harms.

Publication by the Bertelsmann Stiftung
ConPolicy publishes in the book "Corporate Responsibility and Digital Change"

On October 01, 2020, the Bertelsmann Stiftung published the book "Corporate Responsibility and Digital Change" which contains 48 articles on the different aspects of Corporate Digital Responsibility.

One of these articles was written by ConPolicy-Director Prof. Dr. Christian Thorun and Project Manager Dr. Sara Elisa Kettner and has the title "Corporate Digital Responsibility – Data Responsibility? Dimensions of socially responsible corporate governance in the digital world".

More information on the book may be found here (German).

The book may be downloaded here (German).

  Consumer policy news

Consumer protection
Renovation Wave Strategy: Commission wants to cut CO2 emissions through energy efficient renovations

Today, the European Commission presented its Renovation Wave Strategy to ensure better energy performance and resource efficiency of buildings by... Read more

First cyber manual for consumers

Today, the German Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) and the registered association "Deutschland sicher im Netz e.V." (DsiN) presented the... Read more

Consumer protection
Fake and manipulated user reviews in online shopping

The German Federal Cartel Office presented the results of its sector inquiry into customer reviews on the Internet today. The final report explains... Read more

Efforts to make Artificial Intelligence ethical, safe and innovative

Today, Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) approved proposals to address long-term opportunities and legal challenges posed by artificial... Read more

Consumer protection
Little confidence in the protection of consumers interests, especially with regard to digitization

Today, the German Federal Association of Consumer Organizations (vzbv) published its 2020 consumer report on consumer protection in Germany. The... Read more

  Recommended reading

Hellmann, K.-U., A. Klein & B. Baule (Eds.)
Consumer policy from below – Paradoxes, perspectives, problem discussions

Since its inception in the 1950s, consumer policy in Germany has been understood and operated primarily as a bundle of actions and measures that was... Read more

Reisch, L. A. et al.
Mitigating climate change via food consumption and food waste: A systematic map of behavioral interventions

Demand-side policies for mitigating climate change based on behavioral insights are gaining increased attention in research and practice. Here the... Read more

Reisch, L. A. et al.
Sustainable consumption now! The German National Programme for Sustainable Consumption on the test bed

The aim of the present paper is to evaluate the German National Programme for Sustainable Consumption, to identify key challenges and suggest further... Read more

Bala C. & W. Schuldzinski (Eds.)
Poverty consumption – Wealth consumption: Social inequality and consumer policy

The Covid-19 pandemic has once again made it clear that participation in social life and access to consumer goods are directly related. A high school... Read more

On the state of IT security in Germany

With its report on the IT security situation in Germany 2020, the German Federal Office for Information Security (BSI), as the federal cyber security... Read more

European Green Recovery – Building back better based on the Green Deal

This position paper is the result of the work of the EPA Network’s group on Green Stimulus and reflects the inputs of all participants of the group.... Read more

Burger, A., K. Kristof & A. Matthey
The Green New Consensus: Study Shows Broad Consensus on Green Recovery Programmes and Structural Reforms

This paper analyzes 130 studies on green recovery programs. It finds broad consensus on the need to use the Covid-19 recovery efforts to also address... Read more

Hoffmann, A.-L.
Protecting vulnerable consumers in the face of energy poverty

This work is dedicated to the problem of energy poverty at different levels and combines consumer, social and civil law issues. Directive 2009/72 of... Read more

Roßnagel, A. & C. Geminn
Improving the General Data Protection Regulation – Suggested changes from the consumer's perspective

After two years of the General Data Protection Regulation in force, this book carries out an evaluation from the consumer's perspective and presents... Read more

Bourreau, M. et al.
Google/Fitbit will monetize health data and harm consumers

Google's modus operandi is by now well understood. Its history of systematic acquisitions across a vast array of disparate activities, bolted onto its... Read more

Selle, L.
Product safety in e-commerce: Europe faces new challenges

More and more consumers are now buying from foreign suppliers – mostly through online marketplaces. Many are not aware that they are entering into a... Read more

Schmidbauer, W.
The art of repairing: An essay

Quickly throwing away appears to be a general trend – with fatal consequences. Mass production, thoughtless consumption, quick disposal: Our... Read more