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Adult learners in a digital world

03-10-2019

What impact does the digital world have on adult learners? Do they need to develop specific skills? Is the internet the new space where adults learn or find learning opportunities? This infographic looks at how adults in the EU currently use the internet, and their level of skills, to identify some of their learning needs. It then focuses on the characteristics of those who seek educational opportunities online to detect gaps in access to learning. Finally, it looks at how many actually use the internet ...

What impact does the digital world have on adult learners? Do they need to develop specific skills? Is the internet the new space where adults learn or find learning opportunities? This infographic looks at how adults in the EU currently use the internet, and their level of skills, to identify some of their learning needs. It then focuses on the characteristics of those who seek educational opportunities online to detect gaps in access to learning. Finally, it looks at how many actually use the internet for learning purposes and workplace ICT skills development training to pinpoint learning opportunities. While policy-makers see the potential of the digital environment to broaden access to education, lack of skills and infrastructure may be barriers in their own right.

What if social media were open and connected?

22-05-2018

Social media platforms are often thought of as open and connected spaces, since they allow users to communicate with a wide range of people and organisations. It seems obvious that to have access to a social network it should be necessary to open an account with the platform, and that on closing the account that access would be lost. However, telephone and email networks do not restrict access to their networks depending on which provider or platform is being used, and there are ways in which social ...

Social media platforms are often thought of as open and connected spaces, since they allow users to communicate with a wide range of people and organisations. It seems obvious that to have access to a social network it should be necessary to open an account with the platform, and that on closing the account that access would be lost. However, telephone and email networks do not restrict access to their networks depending on which provider or platform is being used, and there are ways in which social media too could be more open and connected, providing greater connectivity and allowing users to change platform without losing access to the network. This could help foster a more competitive market that is more responsive to challenges such as privacy and disinformation.

Contracts for the supply of digital content and personal data protection

15-05-2017

The proposed directive on the supply of digital content is intended to regulate the main contractual rights and duties of parties to contracts for the supply of digital content and services, and create a harmonised legal framework for digital content to benefit both consumers and businesses. It covers not only contracts where digital content or services are provided in exchange for money, but also those where the consumer provides personal or other data in lieu of money to gain access to digital ...

The proposed directive on the supply of digital content is intended to regulate the main contractual rights and duties of parties to contracts for the supply of digital content and services, and create a harmonised legal framework for digital content to benefit both consumers and businesses. It covers not only contracts where digital content or services are provided in exchange for money, but also those where the consumer provides personal or other data in lieu of money to gain access to digital content or services. The interplay between this proposed private law instrument and the existing public law rules on data protection (notably the recently adopted General Data Protection Regulation) have been the subject of some debate. The European Data Protection Supervisor's recent opinion was critical of the proposal, arguing that, in the EU, personal data 'cannot be conceived as a mere economic asset' and cannot therefore be treated as the consumer's contractual counter-performance in lieu of money. The draft report prepared by the co-rapporteurs in Parliament includes those contracts in which consumers do not pay a price (but potentially provide data) within the scope of the proposal. It eliminates however the notion of personal data as a form of contractual 'counter-performance'. The co-legislators are now facing the challenging task of reconciling the fundamental rights approach with the requirements of economic reality, including the need to grant legal protection to consumers who provide their data in order to access digital content or services.

The EU rules on network neutrality: key provisions, remaining concerns

05-11-2015

Network neutrality can be described essentially as a non-discrimination principle, requiring that all electronic communication passing through an internet service provider (ISP) network is treated equally. After a lengthy debate, on 27 October 2015, the European Parliament adopted the Telecoms Single Market (TSM) Regulation which includes, inter alia, new rules to safeguard open internet access in the European Union (EU). The TSM Regulation enshrines a right for end users to access and distribute ...

Network neutrality can be described essentially as a non-discrimination principle, requiring that all electronic communication passing through an internet service provider (ISP) network is treated equally. After a lengthy debate, on 27 October 2015, the European Parliament adopted the Telecoms Single Market (TSM) Regulation which includes, inter alia, new rules to safeguard open internet access in the European Union (EU). The TSM Regulation enshrines a right for end users to access and distribute content of their choice on the internet in EU law and imposes a non-discrimination obligation on ISPs to ensure all internet traffic is treated equally in a way that safeguards the end user's rights. However, ISPs can still depart from the non-discrimination principle in exceptional cases and to implement reasonable traffic management measures. The possibility for ISPs to offer innovative services, i.e. 'specialised services' such as telemedicine services (e.g. health services carried out at a distance), which usually require guaranteed service quality and traffic management has been approved. ISPs and end users also remain free to conclude commercial agreements (e.g. on prices, volume and speed) on the features of the internet access services delivered. However, safeguards have been put in place to ensure that ISPs do not circumvent the non-discrimination principle through the use of specialised services and commercial agreements. While the compromise text is seen by many commentators as a major step towards ensuring network neutrality in the EU, some remain critical of outstanding loopholes and ambiguities. Concerns have been expressed in particular on how to implement the rules on reasonable traffic management, specialised services and price discrimination practices such as zero rating. Common guidance is needed to avoid diverging approaches throughout the EU.

Accessibility of Public Sector Bodies' Websites: Initial Appraisal of the European Commission's Impact Assessment

14-02-2013

This note seeks to provide an initial analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the European Commission's Impact Assessment accompanying the proposal for a Directive on the accessibility of public sector bodies' websites (COM (2012) 721). Web-accessibility refers to principles and techniques for making websites accessible to all, especially people with functional disabilities and elderly people, and concerns websites and their content, web browsers, and assistive technologies.

This note seeks to provide an initial analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the European Commission's Impact Assessment accompanying the proposal for a Directive on the accessibility of public sector bodies' websites (COM (2012) 721). Web-accessibility refers to principles and techniques for making websites accessible to all, especially people with functional disabilities and elderly people, and concerns websites and their content, web browsers, and assistive technologies.

Consumer access to online content

30-05-2012

Practically every day, new devices, platforms and providers for accessing, downloading, streaming and creating internet content emerge around the world. But the copyrights, which protect a large part of that content, are mostly governed on a national basis. Private users are lost in the maze of different rules and restrictions and have difficulty in accessing and using content in a legal manner. In addition, unlicensed sites conti­nually emerge, with content just a click away. Attempts have been ...

Practically every day, new devices, platforms and providers for accessing, downloading, streaming and creating internet content emerge around the world. But the copyrights, which protect a large part of that content, are mostly governed on a national basis. Private users are lost in the maze of different rules and restrictions and have difficulty in accessing and using content in a legal manner. In addition, unlicensed sites conti­nually emerge, with content just a click away. Attempts have been made by the US with their ""fair use"" doctrine and by the EU with the Copyright Directive, to provide exceptions for private users. But many issues including usage restrictions, data protection and up-to-date remuneration systems for authors have yet to be resolved. Policy-makers and stakeholders promote different solutions, such as a legal regime with more flexibility for private use or a global database for music works, or different kinds of subscription models, some of which have already proven successful. The EU is in favour of global solutions and wants to facilitate consumer access.

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