Category Archives: Interaction of the information society with certain policies

Information and communication technologies (ICTs) are now used in many fields such as public health, road safety, e-commerce and energy. The European Union (EU) is therefore endeavouring to regulate the use of ICTs in these different fields in order to improve the quality of life of European citizens.

Information Society

Information Society

Information Society Contents

  • Current general legal framework: Regulatory framework. Competition.
  • Digital Strategy, i2010 Strategy, eEurope Action Plan, Digital Strategy Programmes: Digital Strategy. I2010 Strategy and eEurope Action Plans. Programmes.
  • Internet, Online activities and ICT standards: Internet and Online activities. Fight against illegal online activities. Network security and information system. Coordination and standardisation.
  • Data protection, copyright and related rights: Data protection. Copyright and related rights in the information society.
  • Radiofrequencies: Mobile communications. Radio spectrum.
  • Interaction of the information society with certain policies: The use of ITC for road safety. The use of ITC for electronic commerce. The use of ITC for payment systems. The use of ITC for research. The use of ITC for public health.
  • Enlargement: Ongoing enlargement. Enlargement of January 2007. Enlargement of May 2004.

See also

Overviews of European Union: Information technology.
Further information: Communications Networks, Contents and Technology Directorate-General of the European Commission.

European initiative on electronic commerce

European initiative on electronic commerce

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about European initiative on electronic commerce

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Information society > Interaction of the information society with certain policies

European initiative on electronic commerce

Document or Iniciative

Commission communication of 18 April 1997: A European Initiative in the sector of Electronic Commerce [COM(97) 157 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

Definition and background

Electronic commerce, based on the electronic processing and transmission of data, encompasses many diverse activities including electronic trading of goods and services, on-line delivery of digital content, electronic funds transfers, electronic share trading, public procurement, and so on.

These activities may be divided into two categories:

  • indirect electronic commerce, i.e. the electronic ordering of tangible goods that must still be physically delivered and which therefore depends on a number of external factors, such as the efficiency of the transport system and postal services; and
  • direct electronic commerce, i.e. the on-line ordering, payment and delivery of intangible goods and services such as computer software and entertainment content.

Electronic commerce is not limited to the Internet, but includes other applications such as videotex, tele-shopping and catalogue sales on CD-Rom.

The Commission’s communication looks at electronic commerce in the international context. It compares Europe’s strengths with American advances in the field and stresses that any action on electronic commerce has to be compatible with WTO commitments. It also raises the problem of cyber-crime, which must be tackled urgently in order to reinforce trust and confidence in transnational electronic commerce.

Ensuring access to the global marketplace: infrastructure, technology and services

Effective telecommunications liberalisation in the European Union from 1 January 1998 should lead to lower prices in general and the introduction of more flexible tariff schemes for businesses. As a result, Internet use should increase, as should the take-up of electronic commerce.

The WTO Agreement on Basic Telecommunications, which contains commitments from 69 countries on market access and national treatment, will contribute significantly to the emergence of a global marketplace when it comes into force on 1 January 1998.

The take-up of electronic commerce will also be stimulated by the gradual elimination (by the year 2000) of tariff and non-tariff barriers on information technology products (computers, software, etc.), which will also have the effect of bringing down the costs of these basic tools.

In order to deal with the bottlenecks caused by the growing use of infrastructure, the Commission recommends a coordinated approach through the R&D programmes in information and communications technologies. These programmes also support innovation, privacy-enhancing technologies and user-friendly access to information.

Interoperability between various electronic commerce services must be ensured, in particular by involving European industry and users in standardisation work within the European standards bodies (CEN, CENELEC et ETSI).

The Commission encourages international industrial cooperation in the field of technology, infrastructure and services.

Creating a favourable regulatory framework

Two things are needed for electronic commerce to develop successfully:

  • building trust and confidence, the prerequisite to win over business and consumers to electronic commerce;
  • ensuring full access to the single market, by making sure that Member States do not adopt divergent legislation and establishing a coherent regulatory framework at European level.

To achieve these objectives, a regulatory framework must be established based on the following principles:

  • no regulation where the free movement of electronic commerce services can be effectively achieved by mutual recognition of national rules and of appropriate self-regulatory codes;
  • any regulation must be based on all single market freedoms;
  • any regulation must take account of business realities;
  • any regulation must meet general interest objectives (privacy, consumer protection, wide accessibility to the networks) effectively and efficiently.

To ensure that electronic commerce freely flows across national frontiers, different legal issues still need to be addressed. Which Member State will be competent and which law applicable in disputed cases? Which laws are applicable in the field of commercial communications (advertising, direct marketing, etc.)? Legal recognition of electronic contracts, adapting of accounting and audit rules and the soundness of electronic payment systems are also unresolved matters which must be addressed.

The regulatory framework must:

  • ensure data security and privacy through the use of encryption;
  • establish appropriate protection for intellectual property rights and conditional access services;
  • ensure a clear and neutral tax environment.



Promoting a favourable business environment

A favourable business environment will depend on:

  • creating awareness and confidence among consumers by encouraging the use of quality labels and codes of conduct and by increasing the transparency of transactions;
  • creating awareness among businesses and encouraging them to make use of electronic commerce themselves;
  • encouraging public administrations to take a more pro-active line, particularly in the areas of customs and taxes, employment services and public procurement, in order to introduce electronic commerce in business-public administration relationships;
  • putting electronic commerce at the service of the citizen, in particular by teaching new skills, to avoid the risk of creating a split society of users and non-users.

To implement this initiative, the Commission has drawn up a timetable of actions to be completed by the year 2000. These concern telecommunications, with a view to achieving effective liberalisation of the sector. They also seek to promote electronic commerce awareness among businesses, public bodies and the general public, which will be the main priority of the Fifth R&D Framework Programme. The Commission is also looking into standardisation projects and considering the legislation which will be necessary to remove legal uncertainties.

A strategy for research on future and emerging technologies in Europe

A strategy for research on future and emerging technologies in Europe

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about A strategy for research on future and emerging technologies in Europe

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Information society > Interaction of the information society with certain policies

A strategy for research on future and emerging technologies in Europe

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 20 April 2009 – Moving the ICT frontiers: a strategy for research on future and emerging technologies in Europe [COM(2009) 184 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

This Communication highlights the key role of future and emerging technologies (FET) in the area of research and establishes the benchmarks for a long-term strategy which aims at increasing competitiveness and innovation in Europe.

Presentation of the FET scheme

Since its launch in 1989, the FET scheme has made it possible for radically new information technologies to be discovered and developed.

This scheme mainly funds research activities in innovative fields and contributes to the emergence of new practices in the research sector. It is based on multidisciplinarity and fosters cooperation between European research teams.

Challenges to be met in the area of research on future and emerging technologies

In view of the economic crisis, Europe is investing little in high-risk transformative research on information and communication technologies (ICT). Public and private investment in high-risk research should be increased.

Furthermore, many societal challenges such as sustainable development, climate change, health, the ageing population, security, as well as social and economic inclusion necessitate innovative solutions in the area of ICT. Researchers should be encouraged to develop such solutions freely through transformative foundational research.

It is also important that Europe fosters multidisciplinary cooperation. The Virtual Physiological Human (VPH) initiative which aims at a personalised simulation of the human body constitutes one of the first examples of such cooperation.

Foundational research is still too fragmented, which creates duplication of effort, diverging priorities and untapped potential. A joint strategy should be developed to avoid this fragmentation of research.

Moreover, Europe suffers from a serious shortage of skilled researchers and from international competition. To bridge this gap, talented young researchers should be offered more attractive career opportunities.

Industrial needs are not sufficiently taken into account by the strategic research agendas of the European Technological Platforms. Once programmes are completed, results should be systematically communicated to businesses so that they may apply the results.

The FET scheme does not value international cooperation highly enough. It is important that researchers pool their resources in order to improve the level of excellence at global level.

Proposed strategy

The Commission proposes to reinforce FET under the ICT theme. In this regard, the portion of theSeventh Framework Programmebudget allocated to FET research will be increased by 20 % per year from 2011 to 2013.

Flagship initiatives should be launched in the area of FET. One of these would consist of modelling the way in which nature processes information in order to design future biocomputers in the long term.

Europe should coordinate national and community action in order to identify and support shared priorities, particularly in quantum and neuro-information technologies in order to combat the fragmentation of research. Calls for proposals will be launched between 2010 and 2013 in FET domains of common interest.

Measures will be introduced to increase young researchers’ engagement in FET. The take-up of new curricula should be progressed and facilitated by national and regional authorities.

In order to strengthen cooperation between research and business, researchers are invited to improve the dissemination of results of their work. In addition, the Commission plans to encourage high-tech SMEs to carry out research work themselves.

In order to attract researchers from all countries, the European Commission will contact third country funding agencies (United States, China and Russia, in particular) to establish closer links in the field of research.

Context

This Communication addresses some of the findings of the Aho Report on R & D and Innovation. The conclusions of this report stress the necessity, for centres of excellence, of building up a critical mass of activity in strategic areas.

This summary is for information only. It is not designed to interpret or replace the reference document, which remains the only binding legal text.

Interaction of the information society with certain policies

Interaction of the information society with certain policies

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Interaction of the information society with certain policies

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Information society > Interaction of the information society with certain policies

Interaction of the information society with certain policies

Information and communication technologies (ICTs) are now used in many fields such as public health, road safety, e-commerce and energy. The European Union (EU) is therefore endeavouring to regulate the use of ICTs in these different fields in order to improve the quality of life of European citizens.

The use of ITC for road safety

  • Le service eCall
    (FR)
  • eCall: Time for deployment
  • i2010 Intelligent Car Initiative (third eSafety communication)
  • In-vehicle emergency call system “eCall” (Second eSafety Communication)
  • eSafety: the use of information and communication technology (ICT) for road safety

The use of ITC for electronic commerce

  • Legal aspects of electronic commerce (“Directive on electronic commerce”)
  • European initiative on electronic commerce
  • VAT: special arrangements applicable to services supplied electronically

The use of ITC for payment systems

  • Community framework for electronic signatures
  • Electronic payment: code of conduct
  • Relationship between card-holders and card-issuers (II)

The use of ITC for research

  • A strategy for research on future and emerging technologies in Europe
  • ARTEMIS

The use of ITC for energy sector

  • ICTs to facilitate the transition to an energy-efficient, low-carbon economy

The use of ITC for public health

  • Telemedicine systems and services

Community framework for electronic signatures

Community framework for electronic signatures

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Community framework for electronic signatures

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Information society > Interaction of the information society with certain policies

Community framework for electronic signatures

Document or Iniciative

Directive 1999/93/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 December 1999 on a Community framework for electronic signatures.

Summary

This Directive lays down the criteria that form the basis for legal recognition of electronic signatures by focusing on certification services. These comprise the following:

  • common obligations for certification service providers in order to secure transborder recognition of signatures and certificates throughout the European Community;
  • common rules on liability to help build confidence among users, who rely on the certificates, and among service providers;
  • cooperative mechanisms to facilitate transborder recognition of signatures and certificates with third countries.

The Directive defines new ideas:

  • the electronic signature, data in electronic form which are attached to or logically associated with other electronic data and which serve as a method of authentication.
  • the advanced electronic signature, which meets the following requirements:

    1. it is uniquely linked to the signatory;
    2. it is capable of identifying the signatory;
    3. it is created using means that the signatory can maintain under their sole control;
    4. it is linked to the data to which it relates in such a manner that any subsequent change in the data is detectable.
  • the qualified certificate, which must in particular include:

    1. an indication that it is issued as a qualified certificate;
    2. the identification of the certification service provider;
    3. the name of the signatory;
    4. provision for a specific attribute of the signatory to be included if relevant, depending on the purpose for which the certificate is intended;
    5. signature-verification data corresponding to signature-creation data under the control of the signatory;
    6. an indication of the beginning and end of the period of validity of the certificate;
    7. the identity code of the certificate;
    8. the advanced electronic signature of the issuing certification service provider.

The certificate must also be issued by a certification service provider which meeting specific requirements laid down in the Directive.

Market access

Member States must not make the provision of certification services subject to prior authorisation of any kind.

They may introduce or maintain voluntary accreditation schemes aimed at enhancing levels of certification-service provision.

Member States may not limit the number of accredited certification service providers for reasons which fall within the scope of the Directive.

Member States may make the use of electronic signatures in the public sector subject to possible additional requirements.

Member States may not restrict the provision of certification services originating in another Member State in the areas covered by the Directive.

Legal effects of electronic signatures

The main provision of the Directive states that an advanced electronic signature based on a qualified certificate created by a secure-signature-creation device satisfies the legal requirements of a signature in relation to data in electronic form in the same manner as a handwritten signature satisfies those requirements in relation to paper-based data (for convenience this type of signature is usually called a “qualified signature”. Although the Directive describes it as such, it does not give a definition for it). It is also admissible as evidence in legal proceedings.

In addition, an electronic signature may not legally be refused simply because:

  • it is in electronic form;
  • it is not based on a qualified certificate;
  • it is not based upon a qualified certificate issued by an accredited certification service provider;
  • it is not created by a secure signature-creation device.

Liability

Member States must ensure that a certification service provider which issues a qualified certificate is liable vis-à-vis any person who reasonably relies on the certificate for:

  • the accuracy of all information in the qualified certificate;
  • compliance with all requirements of the Directive in issuing the qualified certificate;
  • assurance that the holder identified in the qualified certificate held, at the time of the issuance of the certificate, the signature-creation device corresponding to the signature verification device given or identified in the certificate;
  • in cases where the certification service provider generates the signature-creation device and the signature-verification device, assurance that the two devices function together in a complementary manner.

The certification service provider must not be liable for damage arising from use of a qualified certificate that exceeds the limitations placed on it.

International aspects

Member States must ensure that mutual legal recognition of qualified certificates and electronic signatures from third countries is applied if certain reliability conditions are met. The Commission may make proposals to ensure that international standards and agreements are fully implemented.

Data protection

Member States must ensure that certification service providers and national bodies responsible for accreditation or supervision comply with Directive 95/46/EC on the protection of personal data.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Directive 1999/93/EC

19.1.2000

19.7.2001

OJ L 13 of 19.1.2000

Successive amendments and corrections to Directive 1999/93/EC have been incorporated in the basic text. This consolidated version  is for reference purpose only.

Related Acts

Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions “Action Plan on e-signatures and e-identification to facilitate the provision of cross-border public services in the Single Market” [COM(2008) 798 finalNot published in the Official Journal].
In this communication, the Commission proposes an Action Plan aimed at assisting Member States in implementing mutually recognised and interoperable electronic signatures and e-identification solutions, in order to facilitate the provision of cross-border public services in an electronic environment. This is essential to avoid fragmentation of the single market.

The Action Plan is structured in three parts:

  • actions targeted at improving the interoperability of qualified electronic signatures and advanced electronic signatures based on qualified certificates, which will clarify the regulatory framework and increase confidence in Certification Service Providers established in another country.
  • actions in the medium term to encourage the interoperability of advanced electronic signatures, which, in particular, would enable the validity of a signature received from another country to be easily verified.
  • actions in the medium term aimed at making e-identification interoperable.

Commission report of 15 March 2006 on the operation of Directive 1999/93/EC on a Community framework for electronic signatures [COM(2006) 120 final – not published in the Official Journal].
The report indicates that EU Member States have implemented the general principles of the Directive.
The Commission notes that transposition of the Directive into the legislation of the Member States has met the need for the legal recognition of electronic signatures. It therefore considers that the Directive’s objectives have been fulfilled and that no need for its revision has emerged at this stage. The Commission nonetheless plans to consult the Member States and relevant stakeholders to address a number of issues, particularly on interoperability problems, technical aspects and standardisation.

Commission Decision 2003/511/EC of 14 July 2003 on the publication of reference numbers of generally recognised standards for electronic signature products in accordance with Directive 1999/93/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council [Official Journal L 175, 15.7.2003].
This Decision gives the references of three generally recognised standards for electronic signature products which presume compliance with the qualified electronic signature.

Commission Decision 2000/709/EC of 6 November 2000 on the minimum criteria to be taken into account by Member States when designating bodies in accordance with Article 3(4) of Directive 1999/93/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on a Community framework for electronic signatures [Official Journal L 289 of 16.11.2000].
This Decision sets out the criteria that Member States must take into account when designating national bodies to evaluate the conformity of secure signature-creation devices.

VAT: special arrangements applicable to services supplied electronically

VAT: special arrangements applicable to services supplied electronically

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about VAT: special arrangements applicable to services supplied electronically

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Information society > Interaction of the information society with certain policies

VAT: special arrangements applicable to services supplied electronically

The objective of this Directive is to create a level playing field for European Union (EU) businesses with regard to the indirect taxation of electronic commerce. The Directive also aims to make compliance for non-EU businesses as easy and straightforward as possible. The changes modernise the existing VAT place-of-supply rules for services by including the electronic commerce sector.

Document or Iniciative

Council Directive 2002/38/EC of 7 May 2002 amending and amending temporarily Directive 77/388/EEC as regards the value added tax arrangements applicable to radio and television broadcasting services and certain electronically supplied services [See amending acts].

Summary

Until now, the uniform basis of assessment provided for by the common system of value-added tax (VAT) has not adequately addressed the supply of services delivered electronically because the supply of services in this way was simply not envisaged when the existing tax system was set up. As a result, the application of the prior VAT rules to these transactions produced perverse and discriminatory results. Previously, electronically delivered services originating within the EU were generally subject to VAT irrespective of the place of consumption, while those from outside the EU were not subject to VAT even when delivered within the EU.

The objective of this Directive is to introduce new harmonised rules and thus eliminate distortions in competition for radio and television broadcasting services and electronically supplied services within the EU. The absence of a clear and fair tax regime was a disincentive to investment and put EU business at a competitive disadvantage.

The principal changes in the uniform basis of assessment provided for by the common system of VAT concern the place of taxation for services supplied in electronic form over electronic networks.

Electronically supplied services include services such as cultural, artistic, sporting, scientific, educational, entertainment, information and similar services as well as software, video games and computer services generally. The result is that:

  • for specified electronically delivered services, when supplied by a non-EU operator to an EU customer, the place of taxation is within the EU and accordingly they are subject to VAT;
  • when these services are provided by an EU operator to a non-EU customer, the place of taxation is where the customer is located and they are not subject to EU VAT;
  • when an EU operator provides these services to a business in another Member State, the place of supply is the place where the business customer is established;
  • where the EU operator provides these services to a private individual in the EU or to a taxable person in the same Member State, the place of supply continues to be where the supplier is located;

Non-EU operators are required to register for VAT purposes only when their business involves sales to final consumers. If they supply to EU businesses (and this covers the vast bulk of such transactions), they face no obligations at all as the business customers account for the VAT themselves on a self-assessment basis under the “reverse charge mechanism”.

The simplest and most attractive option for non-EU businesses is to make use of the Directive’s simplified scheme for such businesses. This allows them to identify themselves for EU tax purposes in a single European Member State, taking advantage of streamlined compliance and on-line reporting procedures.

Non-EU businesses are able to register with a tax authority in a Member State of their choosing. They are required to charge VAT to non-business customers in the EU according to the standard tax rate in the Member State where the customer lives.

Every three months, they pay the tax they have collected to the administration where they have registered, together with a return in electronic form detailing total sales for each EU Member State. On the basis of this information, the Member State of registration re-allocates tax revenue to the country of the consumer.

This simplified scheme for non-EU businesses is to be applied for three years, with the option of moving towards a more technically advanced scheme.

References

Act Entry into force – Date of expiry Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Directive 2002/38/EC 15.5.2002 1.7.2003 OJ L 128, 15.5.2002
Amending act(s) Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Directive 2006/58/EC 28.6.2006 1.7.2006 28.6.2006

Related Acts

Council Directive 2006/138/EC of 19 December 2006 amending Directive 2006/112/EC on the common system of value added tax as regards the period of application of the value added tax arrangements applicable to radio and television broadcasting services and certain electronically supplied services [Official Journal L 384 of 29.12.2006].

Report from the Commission to the Council on Council Directive 2002/38/EC of 7 May 2002 amending and amending temporarily Directive 77/388/EEC as regards the value added tax arrangements applicable to radio and television broadcasting services and certain electronically supplied services [COM(2006) 210 final – not published in the Official Journal].

This report looks at the services covered by the Directive and the practical questions relating to the administration of the tax as well as its longer term operational framework.

Council Regulation (EC) No 1798/2003 of 7 October 2003 on administrative cooperation in the field of value added tax and repealing Regulation (EEC) No 218/92 [Official Journal L 264, 15.10.2003].

This Regulation sets out to enhance cooperation between Member States’ tax administrations to help combat VAT fraud by removing remaining obstacles to the exchange of information. It has three main objectives:

  • to establish clear and binding rules on the exchange of information (in particular by electronic means),
  • to provide for direct contacts between national departments for combating fraud, and
  • to increase the exchange of information.

Relationship between card-holders and card-issuers

Relationship between card-holders and card-issuers

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Relationship between card-holders and card-issuers

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Information society > Interaction of the information society with certain policies

Relationship between card-holders and card-issuers (II)

Document or Iniciative

Commission recommendation 97/489/EC of 30 July 1997 concerning transactions by electronic payment instruments and in particular the relationship between issuer and holder.

Summary

This recommendation is applicable in its entirety to all transactions involving instruments that allow remote access to the holder’s account, such as:

  • transfers of funds, other than those ordered and executed by financial institutions, effected by means of an electronic payment instrument;
  • cash withdrawals by means of an electronic payment instrument and the loading (and unloading) of an electronic money instrument, at devices such as cash dispensing machines and automated teller machines and at the premises of the issuer or an institution who is under contract to accept the payment instrument.

This recommendation applies in part to electronic money instruments. However, where the electronic money instrument is used to load (and unload) value through remote access to the holder’s account, it is applicable in its entirety.

This recommendation does not apply to:

  • payments by cheque;
  • the guarantee function of certain cards in relation to payments by cheque.

Upon signature of the contract or, in any event, in good time prior to delivering an electronic payment instrument, the issuer should communicate to the holder the contractual terms and conditions governing the issue and use of that instrument and should indicate which law is applicable to the contract.

These terms should be clear, easily understandable and available in the official language or languages of the Member State in which the electronic payment instrument is offered. The minimum information that the terms should include is the following:

  • a description of the electronic payment instrument, including where appropriate the technical requirements and any financial limits that are applied;
  • a description of the holder’s and issuer’s respective obligations and liabilities;
  • where applicable, the normal period within which the holder’s account will be debited or credited, including the value date, or the normal period within which he will be invoiced;
  • the types of any charges payable by the holder;
  • the period of time during which a given transaction may be contested by the holder and an indication of the redress and complaints procedures.

If the electronic payment instrument is usable for transactions abroad, the following information should also be communicated to the holder:

  • an indication of the amount of any fees and charges levied for foreign currency transactions, including where appropriate the rates;
  • the reference exchange rate used.

The issuer should supply the holder with information relating to the transactions effected by means of an electronic payment instrument. This information should include:

  • a reference enabling the holder to identify the transaction;
  • the amount debited to the holder for the transaction;
  • the amount of any fees and charges applied for particular types of transactions.

The holder should be able to verify the last five transactions executed with the instrument and the outstanding value stored on it.

The holder should be subject to certain obligations, namely:

  • he should use the electronic payment instrument in accordance with the terms governing the issuing and use of a payment instrument and, in particular, to take all reasonable steps to keep the instrument safe;
  • he should notify the issuer without delay after becoming aware of the loss or theft of the electronic payment instrument, the recording on his account of any unauthorised transaction, and any error or other irregularity in the maintaining of that account by the issuer;
  • he should refrain from recording his personal identification number or other code in any easily recognisable form.

Barring exceptions, the holder may not countermand an order which he has given by means of his electronic payment instrument.

Up to the time of notification, the holder should bear the loss sustained in consequence of the loss or theft of the electronic payment instrument, subject to a limit which may not exceed ECU 150, except where he acted with extreme negligence or fraudulently.

As soon as the holder has notified the issuer, he should not subsequently be liable for the loss arising in consequence of the loss or theft of his electronic payment instrument, except where he acted fraudulently.

The holder should not be liable if the payment instrument has been used without being physically presented or electronically identified.

The issuer may alter the terms, provided that sufficient notice of the change is given individually to the holder. A period of not less than one month is specified after which time the holder is deemed to have accepted the terms if he has not withdrawn.

However, any significant change to the actual interest rate should come into effect on the date specified in the publication of such a change. In this event, and without prejudice to the right of the holder to withdraw from the contract, the issuer should inform the holder individually of the change as soon as possible.

The issuer should be subject to a certain number of obligations, including the following:

  • he should not disclose the holder’s personal identification number, except to the holder;
  • he should not dispatch an unsolicited electronic payment instrument to the holder;
  • he should keep internal records of the transactions specified in this recommendation;
  • he should ensure that appropriate means are available to enable the holder to make the notification required by the recommendation in the event of loss, theft or error;
  • he should prove, in any dispute with the holder concerning a transaction, that the transaction was accurately recorded and entered into accounts and was not affected by technical breakdown or other deficiency.

The issuer of an electronic payment instrument should be liable:

  • for the non-execution or defective execution of the transactions specified in the recommendation;
  • for transactions not authorised by the holder, as well as for any error or irregularity attributable to the issuer in the maintaining of the holder’s account.

The amount of the liability should consist of:

  • the amount of the unexecuted or defectively executed transaction;
  • the sum required to restore the holder to the position he was in before the unauthorised transaction took place.

The issuer should be liable to the holder of an electronic money instrument for the lost amount of value stored on the instrument and for the defective execution of the holder’s transactions in cases where the loss or defective execution is attributable to a malfunction of the instrument, of the device/terminal or any other equipment authorised for use, provided that the malfunction was not deliberately caused by the holder.

The Member States should ensure that there are adequate and effective means for the settlement of disputes between a holder and an issuer.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Recommendation 97/489/EC 02.08.1997 31.12.1998 OJ L 208 of 02.08.1997

Electronic payment: code of conduct

Electronic payment: code of conduct

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Electronic payment: code of conduct

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Information society > Interaction of the information society with certain policies

Electronic payment: code of conduct

Document or Iniciative

Commission Recommendation 87/598/EEC of 8 December 1987, concerning a European code of conduct relating to electronic payments [Official Journal L 365 of 24.12.1987].

Summary

Recommendation that all interested parties concerned should comply with the provisions of the “European code of conduct” relating to electronic payments. This has been drafted by the European Commission and will promote:

  • security and convenience for consumers;
  • greater security and efficiency for traders and issuers.

Definitions of “electronic payment”, “issuer” (bank), “trader”, “consumer” and “interoperability”.

General principles relating to the contract between issuers (banks) and traders or consumers, e.g. it shall set out in detail the general and specific conditions of the agreement; the contract shall be drawn up in the official language(s) of the Member State in which it is concluded.

Commission recommendation that interoperability be full and complete before 31 December 1992. This will enable traders and consumers to join the networks or contract with the issuers of their choice, and ensure that every electronic payment terminal is able to process all cards.

Respect of privacy of information given by consumer. Right of fair access to the system for traders, irrespective of their size.

Obligations concerning relations between issuers and traders:

  • including a ban on any exclusive trading clause which requires the trader to operate only one system, and
  • an obligation on card-holders to take all reasonable precautions to ensure the safety of the payment card.

Related Acts

The Commission adopted two new recommendations in this field in 1988 and 1997. The first concerned relations between card-holders and card-issuers while the second concerned electronic payment.

Telemedicine systems and services

Telemedicine systems and services

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Telemedicine systems and services

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Information society > Interaction of the information society with certain policies

Telemedicine systems and services

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 4 November 2008 on telemedicine for the benefit of patients, healthcare systems and society [COM(2008) 689 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

Telemedicine systems make it possible to transmit medical information at a distance by means of Information and Communication Technologies(ICTs). They are intended for exchanges between health professionals or between health professionals and their patients.

They are used for the diagnosis,treatmentandfollow-up of patients. As a result, these systems help to improve the quality and effectiveness of care. They are currently used in medical monitoring and radiology for the electronic transmission of information or images.

Telemedicine is of major importance in the context of an ageing European population. In particular, its use makes it possible to optimise the resources available to health centres and to increase exchanges of information between professionals. It is also an economic sector with great potential for development.

The Commission proposes a series of strategic actions at European and national levels in order to extend the application of telemedicine.

The Commission is to adopt guidelines intended to demonstrate the benefits, effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of telemedicine services to users, systems and health authorities. These guidelines should be based on scientific studies and the results of pilot projects, particularly in the context of the Competitiveness and Innovation Programme.

The Commission encourages Member States to work together to identify their needs and priorities in the area of telemedicine. Their national strategies are to be presented at the 2010 Inter-Ministerial Conference on Health.

The Commission is to develop a clear legal framework for medical acts carried out by means of telemedicine systems. By 2011, Member States should adapt their regulatory frameworks applicable to licensing, professional liability, jurisdiction and the administrative practices relating to reimbursements. Privacy and patient safety must be guaranteed.

The Commission is to establish a European platform of support to facilitate exchanges of information between Member States. It is also to publish an analysis of the Community legal framework applicable to these services.

All European patients should benefit from telemedicine services through the development of broadband connections. In addition, it is necessary to improve interoperability and network standardisation for the development of the cross-border provision of healthcare services in the single market.

In 2011 the Commission is to present a strategy paper on the interoperability, quality and security of telemonitoring systems.

Background

This Communication follows consultation held in 2007 and 2008 with health professionals, patients and representatives of undertakings in the sector. It is part of the European e-Health Action Plan aimed at improving the quality of health care through the use of new technologies.

ICTs to facilitate the transition to an energy-efficient, low-carbon economy

ICTs to facilitate the transition to an energy-efficient, low-carbon economy

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about ICTs to facilitate the transition to an energy-efficient, low-carbon economy

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Information society > Interaction of the information society with certain policies

ICTs to facilitate the transition to an energy-efficient, low-carbon economy

2 emissions to be reduced considerably whilst bringing the European Union up to a high level of innovation and competitiveness.

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 12 March 2009 on mobilising Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) to facilitate the transition to an energy-efficient, low-carbon economy [COM(2009) 111 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

This Communication describes measures aimed at fully exploiting the potential of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs). The objective is to reduce carbon footprints in all sectors of society and the economy whilst maintaining high energy efficiency.

The role of ICTs

ICTs can:

  • reduce the quantity of energy required to provide a given service;
  • produce quantitative data on which energy-efficiency strategies can be devised, implemented and evaluated.

The challenges of ICTs and action to be implemented

Situation

ICTs used in the delivery of services represent about 1.75% of carbon emissions in Europe and 0.25% of carbon emissions come from the production of ICT and consumer electronic equipment. The remaining 98 % of emissions come from other sectors of the economy and society.

At the moment there is a lack of quantitative data concerning the potential and effective impacts of ICTs. It is essential to harmonise methodologies for the measurement and quantification of energy performance, in order to have access to data which allows new energy-saving strategies to be developed and “greenwashing” practices (pdf > src=”../../../wel/images/doc_icons/f_pdf_16.gif” Title=”PDF” border=”0″ class=”alIco/”>) to be avoided.

Measures

In order to harmonise the use of ICTs to serve energy efficiency, the European Commission plans to present three types of measures:

  • measures common to energy consumption and carbon emissions and related to the production techniques of the ICT sector;
  • measures to promote energy efficiency and a reduction in emissions in the ICT sector and major energy-using sectors;
  • measures aimed at mainstreaming the use of tools based on ICTs that are likely to trigger a shift in the behaviour of consumers, businesses and communities and thus support demand for innovative ICT solutions.

Buildings and transport

The buildings sector is responsible for 40% of energy consumption in the EU. The use of ICTs would lead to a reduction of 11 % in total energy consumption by 2020 using techniques such as intelligent sensors and optimisation software.

Partnerships between public and private sectors should be established in order to develop green technologies, as well as energy-efficient systems and materials in buildings. In addition, a recast of the directive on the energy performance of buildings is proposed.

Transport represents about 26% of energy consumption in the EU. Cooperation between the ICT sector and transport logistics should allow the quality of information concerning energy consumption and carbon emissions in the transport sector to be improved.

The development of new behaviour

Tools allowing a carbon footprint to be reduced do exist. The generalisation of their use should lead to new behaviour emerging. Smart metering can allow for real-time information flows between network operators, energy suppliers and consumers, allowing them to better manage and control their energy consumption and associated costs.

Member States are therefore invited to stimulate demand for innovative solutions based on ICTs by including energy efficiency requirements in their policies for construction, town planning and public procurement and by supporting innovative projects.

In this regard, the Cohesion Policy 2007-2013 provides for EUR 86 billion for investment in research, development and innovation, which includes ICT use and technology development.

In order to support the implementation of the recommended measures, the European Commission is introducing several initiatives such as the creation of a web portal dedicated to the exchange of best practice, or the publication of a practical guide for regional and local authorities.

Context

In December 2008, the Union confirmed its commitment to make a reduction of 20 % in its carbon emissions by 2020. The economic and financial crisis has reinforced its will to pursue these objectives and to build a more sustainable economy in the long term.

ICTs have a major role to play in attaining these objectives since they are present in virtually all parts of the economy and could contribute to increasing productivity by more than 40 %.