Tag Archives: Internet

EEurope 2005

eEurope 2005

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about eEurope 2005

Topics

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

Information society > Digital Strategy i2010 Strategy eEurope Action Plan Digital Strategy Programmes

eEurope 2005

The eEurope 2005 action plan succeeds the 2002 action plan which mainly focused on Internet connectivity in Europe. The new action plan, which was approved by the Seville European Council in June 2002, is aimed at translating this connectivity into increased economic productivity and improved quality and accessibility of services for all European citizens based on a secure broadband infrastructure available to the largest possible number of people.

Document or Iniciative

Communication of 28 May 2002 from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions – The eEurope 2005 action plan: an information society for everyone [COM(2002) 263 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

The general objective of the eEurope 2005 action plan is to stimulate the development of services, applications and contents while speeding up the deployment of secure broadband Internet access. Broadband will ensure high-speed and continuous access to the Internet. There is also the general aim of providing access for everyone in order to combat social exclusion, whether it is due to particular needs, a disability, age or illness.

The main objectives to be achieved by 2005 in the framework of eEurope 2005 are:

  • modern online public services:
  • e-government services;
    • e-learning services;
    • e-health services.
  • a dynamic e-business environment;
  • a secure information infrastructure;
  • widespread availability of broadband access at competitive prices;
  • benchmarking and the dissemination of good practice.

eEurope 2005 follows the same approach as eEurope 2002, which is to define clear objectives and to benchmark progress as it is made. It also aims to speed up the adoption of new legislative instruments and to redirect programmes towards the priorities identified.

MODERN ONLINE PUBLIC SERVICES

e-government

eEurope 2005 proposes the following activities for the introduction of modern online public services:

  • providing broadband connections for all public authorities by 2005;
  • the adoption by the Commission, by the end of 2003, of a framework for interoperability to facilitate the provision of pan-European e-government services for citizens and businesses. Interoperability means the capacity with which two programmes (a client and a server, for example) are able to exchange and interpret their data properly;
  • interactive public services which are accessible to everyone via broadband networks and multi-platform access (telephone, television, PC, etc.) by the end of 2004;
  • most public supply contracts to be awarded electronically by the end of 2005;
  • ease of access for all citizens to public access points to the Internet (PAPI).

e-learning

The action plan encourages further use of electronic means of teaching, as with the e-learning initiative. In this framework, eEurope 2005 proposes a series of targeted measures, including:

  • broadband Internet access for all schools and universities by 2005;
  • online access to be made available by universities to students and researchers by the end of 2005 – with the support of the e-learning and eTen programmes;
  • the launching by the Commission, by the end of 2003, of research activities on the deployment of computer networks and platforms based on high-performance design infrastructures;
  • the launching by the Member States, with support from the Structural Funds, of training activities to provide adults with the skills needed to work in a knowledge-based society.

e-health

The action plan emphasises that digital technologies offer substantial benefits for health management. They offer the potential not only to reduce administrative costs, but also to deliver health care services at a distance and to provide medical information and preventative services. In this field, the eEurope 2005 action plan provides for:

  • the presentation by the Commission, in the spring of 2003, of a proposal for the introduction of a pan-European health insurance card, which will replace the paper forms currently needed to obtain care in another Member State;
  • the establishment by the Member States of health information networks between points of care (hospitals, laboratories and homes);
  • the provision of online health services to the general public (e.g. electronic medical records, teleconsultation, eReimbursement).

A DYNAMIC e-BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT

e-business comprises both e-commerce (buying and selling online) and business restructuring processes. In this field, the activities envisaged include:

  • reassessment by the Commission of the current legislation in order to identify and, where necessary, eliminate factors which prevent businesses from launching into e-business. An e-business summit, planned for 2003, will mark the launching of this reassessment, which is open to all parties concerned;
  • the establishment by the Commission of a European eBusiness network to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in order to strengthen and coordinate activities to assist eBusiness;
  • private sector development of interoperable eBusiness solutions for transactions, security, procurement and payments.

A SECURE INFORMATION INFRASTRUCTURE

The gradual introduction of a secure information infrastructure is one of the main objectives of the eEurope 2005 action plan. Measures have already been adopted in this field at European Union level: a proposal from the Commission in June 2001 on network security, combating cyber crime in the framework of the eEurope 2002 action plan, a Directive on the protection of personal data in the telecommunications sector, and activities under the research framework programme. In the field of security, the new action plan proposes the following activities:

  • the establishment of a cyber security task force – on the basis of a proposal which the Commission should put forward in 2002;
  • the introduction by the public and private sectors of a “security culture” in the design and implementation of information and communication products;
  • examining the possibility for secure communications between public services.

WIDE AVAILABILITY OF BROADBAND ACCESS

The eEurope 2005 action plan calls for the stimulation of innovation and increased use of and investment in broadband communications. To achieve this, the action plan focuses on the following activities:

  • use of the new regulatory framework for radio spectrum policy to guarantee frequency availability for wireless broadband services;
  • support for broadband access in less-favoured areas;
  • increased provision by public authorities of their contents on different interactive technological platforms;
  • speeding up the transition to digital television.

BENCHMARKING

The action plan also provides for measures for the analysis, identification and dissemination of good practices, in particular through conferences and support networks. In the framework of the benchmarking exercise launched by eEurope 2002, it is planned that a list of indicators and a renewed methodology will be put in place at European Union level by the end of 2002.

Related Acts

REVIEW OF eEUROPE 2005

Communication from the Commission of 21 August 2009 to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions – Final Evaluation of the eEurope 2005 Action Plan and of the multiannual programme (2003-2006) for the monitoring of eEurope 2005 Action Plan, dissemination of good practices and the improvement of network and information security (Modinis) [COM(2009) 432 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

This Communication reports on the final evaluation of the eEurope 2005 Action Plan and the Modinis Programme.
With regard to the eEurope 2005 Action Plan, the evaluators found the strategy to be useful and relevant. In fact, the Programme had enabled a dialogue between countries with very different cultures and references to be set up and maintained. Weaknesses were noted concerning the stakeholders’ group, which did not appear to fulfil its advisory role in a satisfactory manner.
The Modinis Programme also received a positive assessment in that it added value to Member States’ activities. However, a lack of transparency was found in the relationship between the Modinis Management Committee and the eEurope Advisory Group.
The weaknesses identified did not, however, affect the implementation of the Programme. They have been taken into account under the framework of the i2010 Initiative and one of its main funding instruments (ICT-PSP).

Commission communication of 18 February 2004 “eEurope 2005 mid-term review” [COM(2004) 108 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

The report highlights the encouraging results produced by the action plan in many fields, particularly on broadband connections and e-government. The proportion of basic government services fully available online grew from 17% to 43% between October 2001 and October 2003. In addition, the number of broadband connections in the EU almost doubled between 2002 and 2003.
The report gives details of the progress made in seven fields and pinpoints the areas where further efforts are needed:

  • e-government: Good progress has been made in this area, but wide differences persist between Member States in terms of the range of services available. Reinforced cooperation is needed at EU level on policy orientation and financial support.
  • e-learning: Almost every educational and training centre is now connected to the Internet. The review of the action plan will have to address the need systematically to evaluate the lessons that have been learnt from all the initiatives and pilot actions.
  • e-health: e-health is becoming a central aspect of health policy at regional, national and European level. However, work needs to continue on the e-health activities proposed in eEurope: electronic health cards; online health services and health information networks. A firm political commitment is needed to create Europe-wide interoperability in this field.
  • e-business: Despite a steady increase in buying and selling on-line, achievements in the e-business field should extend beyond e-commerce to encompass the full integration of information and communication technologies (ICT) into business processes. Once again, the insufficient interoperability of business applications impedes the adoption of new forms of collaboration. Efforts must also continue on the establishment of the .eu top level domain and the adoption of secure and effective e-payment systems.
  • Broadband: The broadband market is expanding fast. However, the EU must overcome two challenges before it can reap the full benefits of broadband:

    • private investment in broadband networks in less favoured areas is held back by fears for its profitability;
    • the take-up of broadband lags behind availability in all Member States.

    The review of the action plan will therefore have to bring about a shift to demand patterns. Further ahead, it will also have to address the issue of digital rights management (DRM).

  • Security: Almost 80% of European citizens are afraid of buying over the Internet, while only 54% of companies have a formal security policy. Network and information security is one of the top priorities for the EU since it is a prerequisite for development of the information society. This high priority was reflected, in particular, by the rapid adoption of the regulation to establish a European Network and Information Security Agency.
  • e-inclusion: e-inclusion is a horizontal concern for all areas of eEurope 2005. In particular, a greater focus is needed on the establishment of European network accessibility standards, on web accessibility initiative (WAI) guidelines and common labelling for accessible web pages. Multi-platform access (via PC, digital TV, 3rd generation mobile telephones, etc.) must be promoted to improve accessibility for excluded groups and disadvantaged regions.

The report will provide the starting-point for discussion with the Member States and stakeholders to decide the adjustments needed to eEurope 2005 by the summer of 2004.

Communication from the Commission of 21 November 2002 on eEurope 2005: Benchmarking indicators [COM(2002) 772 final − Not published in the Official Journal].

To monitor progress with the action plan, the Communication introduces the various indicators proposed by the Commission for the benchmarking of eEurope 2005. These indicators relate to citizens’ access to and use of the Internet, enterprises’ access to and use of ICT, Internet access costs, e-government, e-learning, e-health, buying and selling online, e-business readiness, Internet users’ experience and usage regarding ICT-security, and broadband penetration.

IMPLEMENTATION

Council Resolution of 18 February 2003 on the implementation of the eEurope 2005 action plan [Official Journal C 48 of 28.02.2003].

Essentially, the Council calls upon the parties concerned, especially the Member States and the Commission, to do their utmost to achieve the objectives of eEurope 2005 by the end of 2005. An annex to the Resolution contains a list of benchmarking indicators for assessing progress in achieving those objectives.

EGovernment

eGovernment

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about eGovernment

Topics

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

Information society > Digital Strategy i2010 Strategy eEurope Action Plan Digital Strategy Programmes

eGovernment

eEurope 2005 To harness the full potential of eGovernment, it is necessary to identify the obstacles which are slowing down the rate at which on-line public services are being made available in the Member States and to propose action to speed up the deployment of eGovernment. This is the objective of the Commission Communication described below.

Communication of 26 September 2003 from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions “The Role of eGovernment for Europe’s future” [COM(2003) 567 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

“eGovernment” * means the use of information and communication technologies * (ICT) in public administrations combined with organisational changes and new skills. The objective is to improve public services, democratic processes and public policies.

STATE OF PLAY

Progress has been made in every Member State in bringing public services online, with average online availability growing from 45% to 65% between October 2001 and October 2002.

In terms of services to citizens, eGovernment has already shown the advantages which it can bring in citizens’ everyday lives. It not only makes it easier to obtain information from public administrations but also greatly facilitates formalities for members of the public and cuts waiting times. Beyond that, eGovernment fosters direct communication between citizens and policy-makers. Through online forums, virtual discussion rooms and electronic voting, citizens can directly question decision-makers and express their views on public policy. Today public internet access points * are gradually becoming the norm for services to citizens.

As regards services to businesses, provision of higher quality electronic services by public administrations leads to increased productivity and competitiveness, by reducing the cost of the public service itself as well as transaction costs to businesses (time and effort). For example, electronic customs and VAT handling and electronic tax declarations offer the advantage of speeding up procedures at the same time as improving quality of service. The sophistication of online services, in terms of supporting interactivity and transactions, has advanced more in the business sector than in services to citizens.

In the case of services between administrations, eGovernment can provide ways to strengthen cooperation between national, regional and local government and Community institutions. Regional and local administrations are often at the forefront of the delivery of on-line public services. Development of eGovernment at regional and local level has also become a priority of the Structural Funds, representing about 30% of Information Society expenditure in Objective 1 regions and 20% in Objective 2 regions.

OBSTACLES TO GENERAL AVAILABILITY OF eGOVERNMENT: PRIORITY ISSUES

The Commission has identified a number of priority issues which have to be addressed in order to remove the obstacles to general availability of eGovernment.

Inclusive access

Access for all to online public services is a sine qua non for wide use of eGovernment. This point is all the more important considering the very real risk of a “digital divide” – due to unequal access to information and computer technologies. In this context, education and training are essential to acquire the digital literacy necessary in order to reap the full benefit of the services offered by eGovernment. Digital literacy is one of the priorities of the eLearning programme. Greater access to services also implies stepping up the multi-platform approach (allowing access to services through a range of devices, from PCs and digital TV to mobile terminals or public internet access points).

User confidence

Public services can be offered on line only in an environment guaranteeing fully secure access for citizens. With this in view, maximum protection of personal data and security of digital transactions and communications are primary issues. To this end, the use of privacy enhancing technologies in eGovernment should be promoted, inter alia through the relevant Community programmes. More generally, network and information security, the fight against cybercrime and dependability are prerequisites for a properly-functioning Information Society and, consequently, are core policy issues within the European Union.

Public procurement

Public procurement is one area where use of ICT can be particularly advantageous. Traditional public procurement operations are complex, time-consuming and resource-intensive. Use of ICT in public procurement can therefore improve efficiency, quality and value for money in public purchases. Until now the absence of clear Community rules has been an obstacle to the take-up of electronic public procurement in Europe. The adoption of the new package of legislation on public procurement, which includes specific rules on electronic public procurement, should be a turning point for the spread of electronic public procurement in Europe.

Pan-European services

Pan-European services are important means of supporting mobility in the internal market and European citizenship. Various types of pan-European service are already in place. Examples include EURES, the European employment services portal, and PLOTEUS the portal on learning opportunities in Europe. However, the provision of common pan-European services can be a sensitive issue. For example, when services have been developed from the Member State’s national perspective and tradition (e.g. language) alone, access to them for citizens and enterprises from other Member States may be difficult. It is therefore important to make sure that pan-European services take account of the needs of citizens from other Member States and also to establish true cooperation between Member States’ administrations and interoperable infrastructure.

Interoperability

Interoperability means the capacity to inter-link systems, information and ways of working. This kind of interoperability of information systems allows integrated provision of services in a one-stop portal *, no matter how many different administrative systems or bodies are involved. But interoperability is not just a question of linking up computer networks: it also concerns organisational issues, such as interworking with partner organisations which may well have different internal organisation and operating methods. Introduction of pan-European eGovernment services will also inevitably require agreements on common standards and specifications. Most Member States are already addressing this challenge by adopting national “eGovernment interoperability frameworks”, which are being complemented at European level by the development of the European interoperability framework.

Roadmap

The Commission regards the priorities set out above as the roadmap for eGovernment. However, these measures must be backed up by more horizontal action.

HORIZONTAL ACTION

Reinforcing exchanges of good practice

Best practices encompass technological, organisational and training components. They require a long-term commitment on the part of all key players involved. Exchanges of experience and replication of best practices can bring significant cost-savings in moving to broad take-up. They also prepare the ground for future interoperability and interworking between administrations.

Leveraging investment

A range of Community initiatives and programmes are addressing eGovernment. In particular, these include parts of the Sixth Framework RTD Programme, the eTEN and IDA programmes and investment in regional priorities through the Structural Funds. The Commission reports that investment is low compared to the total investment that should be made at European Union level.

Annual spending on ICT in public administration is about EUR 30 billion, of which a growing proportion, currently some EUR 5 billion, is related to eGovernment. The Commission adds that this spending should be accompanied by much larger investment in organisation and human resources. As a result, the total investment needed is likely to run into tens of billions of euros each year. Community support should therefore aim at achieving maximum leverage for the much larger investment at Member State level.

Key terms used in the Act
  • eGovernment: eGovernment seeks to use information and communications technologies to improve the quality and accessibility of public services. It can reduce costs for businesses and administrations alike, and facilitate transactions between administrators and citizens. It also helps to make the public sector more open and transparent and governments more understandable and accountable to citizens.
  • Information and communication technologies (ICT): the term ITC covers a wide range of services, applications, technologies, devices and software, i.e. tools such as telephony and the Internet, distance learning, television, computers, and the networks and software needed to use these technologies, which are revolutionising social, cultural and economic structures by creating new attitudes towards information, knowledge, working life, etc.
  • One-stop portal: a single entry point to the Internet for a specific topic which can be used without any knowledge of how the administrative departments involved in providing the public service are organised.

Related Acts

Communication from the Commission, of 25 April 2006, “i2010 eGovernment Action Plan: Accelerating eGovernment in Europe for the Benefit of All” [COM(2006) 173 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
This Action Plan, adopted in 2006, is designed to make public services more modern and efficient and to target the needs of the population more precisely. It proposes a series of priorities and a roadmap to speed up the deployment of eGovernment in Europe. Five priority areas are identified:

  • Access for all;
  • Increased efficiency;
  • High-impact eGovernment services;
  • Putting key enablers in place;
  • Increased participation in democratic decision-making.

Independent Report of 27 June 2005: “eGovernment in the Member States of the European Union” (GOPA-Cartermill).

The report is a compilation of the factsheets produced by the eGovernment Observatory. These factsheets provide a picture of the situation and progress of eGovernment in each Member State.

Fifth annual study of e-Government

According to a 2005 survey carried out for the Commission, more than 90% of public service providers now have a website, and 40% of basic public services are totally interactive. The survey highlights the considerable progress made in developing and providing on-line public services throughout the EU. The gap between the new Member States and the EU-15 States in terms of service provision has narrowed significantly, and could close very quickly. The challenge now is to ensure that on-line public services are used as widely and as often as possible so as to simplify the administrative procedures for businesses and citizens alike.

Fourth annual study of e-Government

According to the results of an extensive survey published in January 2004 [PDF ], public administrations which combine the use of ICT to deliver new services with reorganisation of the way they work obtain higher approval ratings from businesses and citizens.
This large-scale survey, funded as part of the evaluation of the eEurope action plan, was conducted in every EU Member State, looking at a common list of 20 basic public services which should be available on line under the action plan. The survey included 29 in-depth case studies of “best practice”, for example substantial savings in enrolment in higher education in Finland and the United Kingdom.

The Commission concluded that the better results are due to the fact that reorganisation plus use of ICT in public administrations reduces costs, increases productivity and provides flexibility and simpler organisational structures. The practical results for the public and for businesses are fewer visits to administrations, together with faster, cheaper, more accessible and more efficient services, but also fewer errors, easier to use systems and greater user control.


Another Normative about eGovernment

Topics

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

Internal market > Businesses in the internal market > Public procurement

eGovernment

eEurope 2005 To harness the full potential of eGovernment, it is necessary to identify the obstacles which are slowing down the rate at which on-line public services are being made available in the Member States and to propose action to speed up the deployment of eGovernment. This is the objective of the Commission Communication described below.

Communication of 26 September 2003 from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions “The Role of eGovernment for Europe’s future” [COM(2003) 567 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

“eGovernment” * means the use of information and communication technologies * (ICT) in public administrations combined with organisational changes and new skills. The objective is to improve public services, democratic processes and public policies.

STATE OF PLAY

Progress has been made in every Member State in bringing public services online, with average online availability growing from 45% to 65% between October 2001 and October 2002.

In terms of services to citizens, eGovernment has already shown the advantages which it can bring in citizens’ everyday lives. It not only makes it easier to obtain information from public administrations but also greatly facilitates formalities for members of the public and cuts waiting times. Beyond that, eGovernment fosters direct communication between citizens and policy-makers. Through online forums, virtual discussion rooms and electronic voting, citizens can directly question decision-makers and express their views on public policy. Today public internet access points * are gradually becoming the norm for services to citizens.

As regards services to businesses, provision of higher quality electronic services by public administrations leads to increased productivity and competitiveness, by reducing the cost of the public service itself as well as transaction costs to businesses (time and effort). For example, electronic customs and VAT handling and electronic tax declarations offer the advantage of speeding up procedures at the same time as improving quality of service. The sophistication of online services, in terms of supporting interactivity and transactions, has advanced more in the business sector than in services to citizens.

In the case of services between administrations, eGovernment can provide ways to strengthen cooperation between national, regional and local government and Community institutions. Regional and local administrations are often at the forefront of the delivery of on-line public services. Development of eGovernment at regional and local level has also become a priority of the Structural Funds, representing about 30% of Information Society expenditure in Objective 1 regions and 20% in Objective 2 regions.

OBSTACLES TO GENERAL AVAILABILITY OF eGOVERNMENT: PRIORITY ISSUES

The Commission has identified a number of priority issues which have to be addressed in order to remove the obstacles to general availability of eGovernment.

Inclusive access

Access for all to online public services is a sine qua non for wide use of eGovernment. This point is all the more important considering the very real risk of a “digital divide” – due to unequal access to information and computer technologies. In this context, education and training are essential to acquire the digital literacy necessary in order to reap the full benefit of the services offered by eGovernment. Digital literacy is one of the priorities of the eLearning programme. Greater access to services also implies stepping up the multi-platform approach (allowing access to services through a range of devices, from PCs and digital TV to mobile terminals or public internet access points).

User confidence

Public services can be offered on line only in an environment guaranteeing fully secure access for citizens. With this in view, maximum protection of personal data and security of digital transactions and communications are primary issues. To this end, the use of privacy enhancing technologies in eGovernment should be promoted, inter alia through the relevant Community programmes. More generally, network and information security, the fight against cybercrime and dependability are prerequisites for a properly-functioning Information Society and, consequently, are core policy issues within the European Union.

Public procurement

Public procurement is one area where use of ICT can be particularly advantageous. Traditional public procurement operations are complex, time-consuming and resource-intensive. Use of ICT in public procurement can therefore improve efficiency, quality and value for money in public purchases. Until now the absence of clear Community rules has been an obstacle to the take-up of electronic public procurement in Europe. The adoption of the new package of legislation on public procurement, which includes specific rules on electronic public procurement, should be a turning point for the spread of electronic public procurement in Europe.

Pan-European services

Pan-European services are important means of supporting mobility in the internal market and European citizenship. Various types of pan-European service are already in place. Examples include EURES, the European employment services portal, and PLOTEUS the portal on learning opportunities in Europe. However, the provision of common pan-European services can be a sensitive issue. For example, when services have been developed from the Member State’s national perspective and tradition (e.g. language) alone, access to them for citizens and enterprises from other Member States may be difficult. It is therefore important to make sure that pan-European services take account of the needs of citizens from other Member States and also to establish true cooperation between Member States’ administrations and interoperable infrastructure.

Interoperability

Interoperability means the capacity to inter-link systems, information and ways of working. This kind of interoperability of information systems allows integrated provision of services in a one-stop portal *, no matter how many different administrative systems or bodies are involved. But interoperability is not just a question of linking up computer networks: it also concerns organisational issues, such as interworking with partner organisations which may well have different internal organisation and operating methods. Introduction of pan-European eGovernment services will also inevitably require agreements on common standards and specifications. Most Member States are already addressing this challenge by adopting national “eGovernment interoperability frameworks”, which are being complemented at European level by the development of the European interoperability framework.

Roadmap

The Commission regards the priorities set out above as the roadmap for eGovernment. However, these measures must be backed up by more horizontal action.

HORIZONTAL ACTION

Reinforcing exchanges of good practice

Best practices encompass technological, organisational and training components. They require a long-term commitment on the part of all key players involved. Exchanges of experience and replication of best practices can bring significant cost-savings in moving to broad take-up. They also prepare the ground for future interoperability and interworking between administrations.

Leveraging investment

A range of Community initiatives and programmes are addressing eGovernment. In particular, these include parts of the Sixth Framework RTD Programme, the eTEN and IDA programmes and investment in regional priorities through the Structural Funds. The Commission reports that investment is low compared to the total investment that should be made at European Union level.

Annual spending on ICT in public administration is about EUR 30 billion, of which a growing proportion, currently some EUR 5 billion, is related to eGovernment. The Commission adds that this spending should be accompanied by much larger investment in organisation and human resources. As a result, the total investment needed is likely to run into tens of billions of euros each year. Community support should therefore aim at achieving maximum leverage for the much larger investment at Member State level.

Key terms used in the Act
  • eGovernment: eGovernment seeks to use information and communications technologies to improve the quality and accessibility of public services. It can reduce costs for businesses and administrations alike, and facilitate transactions between administrators and citizens. It also helps to make the public sector more open and transparent and governments more understandable and accountable to citizens.
  • Information and communication technologies (ICT): the term ITC covers a wide range of services, applications, technologies, devices and software, i.e. tools such as telephony and the Internet, distance learning, television, computers, and the networks and software needed to use these technologies, which are revolutionising social, cultural and economic structures by creating new attitudes towards information, knowledge, working life, etc.
  • One-stop portal: a single entry point to the Internet for a specific topic which can be used without any knowledge of how the administrative departments involved in providing the public service are organised.

Related Acts

Communication from the Commission, of 25 April 2006, “i2010 eGovernment Action Plan: Accelerating eGovernment in Europe for the Benefit of All” [COM(2006) 173 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
This Action Plan, adopted in 2006, is designed to make public services more modern and efficient and to target the needs of the population more precisely. It proposes a series of priorities and a roadmap to speed up the deployment of eGovernment in Europe. Five priority areas are identified:

  • Access for all;
  • Increased efficiency;
  • High-impact eGovernment services;
  • Putting key enablers in place;
  • Increased participation in democratic decision-making.

Independent Report of 27 June 2005: “eGovernment in the Member States of the European Union” (GOPA-Cartermill).

The report is a compilation of the factsheets produced by the eGovernment Observatory. These factsheets provide a picture of the situation and progress of eGovernment in each Member State.

Fifth annual study of e-Government

According to a 2005 survey carried out for the Commission, more than 90% of public service providers now have a website, and 40% of basic public services are totally interactive. The survey highlights the considerable progress made in developing and providing on-line public services throughout the EU. The gap between the new Member States and the EU-15 States in terms of service provision has narrowed significantly, and could close very quickly. The challenge now is to ensure that on-line public services are used as widely and as often as possible so as to simplify the administrative procedures for businesses and citizens alike.

Fourth annual study of e-Government

According to the results of an extensive survey published in January 2004 [PDF ], public administrations which combine the use of ICT to deliver new services with reorganisation of the way they work obtain higher approval ratings from businesses and citizens.
This large-scale survey, funded as part of the evaluation of the eEurope action plan, was conducted in every EU Member State, looking at a common list of 20 basic public services which should be available on line under the action plan. The survey included 29 in-depth case studies of “best practice”, for example substantial savings in enrolment in higher education in Finland and the United Kingdom.

The Commission concluded that the better results are due to the fact that reorganisation plus use of ICT in public administrations reduces costs, increases productivity and provides flexibility and simpler organisational structures. The practical results for the public and for businesses are fewer visits to administrations, together with faster, cheaper, more accessible and more efficient services, but also fewer errors, easier to use systems and greater user control.

Council Resolution on eLearning

Council Resolution on eLearning

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Council Resolution on eLearning

Topics

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

Education training youth sport > Lifelong learning

Council Resolution on eLearning

Document or Iniciative

Council Resolution of 13 July 2001 on eLearning [Official Journal C 204 of 20.07.2001].

Summary

The Stockholm European Council (23-24 March 2001) reaffirmed that improving basic skills, particularly information technology (IT) skills, is a top priority for the European Union (EU).

Actions required of EU countries and the Commission

The resolution calls on EU countries to:

  • continue their efforts concerning the effective integration of information and communication technologies (ICT) in education and training systems and the initial and in-service training of teachers and trainers;
  • capitalise on the potential of the Internet, multimedia and virtual lifelong learning environments;
  • speed up the integration of ICT and the revision of school and higher education curricula;
  • encourage those in charge of schools to integrate and manage ICT effectively;
  • ensure more rapid provision of equipment and of a quality infrastructure for education and training;
  • encourage the development of high-quality digital teaching and learning materials to ensure the quality of resources available online;
  • take advantage of the opportunities offered by ICT for facilitating access to cultural resources, such as libraries, museums and archives;
  • support the development and adaptation of innovative teaching that incorporates the use of technologies;
  • take advantage of the communication potential offered by ICT to foster European awareness;
  • support virtual forums for cooperation and exchange of information;
  • capitalise on the experience gained from initiatives such as European School Net and European Network of Teacher Education Policies;
  • foster the European dimension of the joint development of higher education curricula;
  • enhance research in eLearning;
  • promote partnerships between the public and private sectors;
  • monitor and analyse the process of integration and the use of ICT in teaching.

This resolution also invites the Commission to:

  • pay particular attention to the implementation of the eLearning action plan and to the concrete future objectives of education and training systems;
  • support existing European portals in order to promote collaboration and exchange of experiences in the area of eLearning and pedagogical development;
  • implement support actions at European level to ensure that experiences are shared, to establish cross-border links and to encourage information and communication measures;
  • consider together with EU countries whether the eSchola initiative could develop into an ongoing activity;
  • support the testing of new learning environments and approaches;
  • undertake strategic studies on innovative approaches in education;
  • intensify research, experimentation and evaluation relating to the pedagogical, socio-economic and technological dimensions of ICT;
  • support the development of European multilingual educational resources, platforms and services;
  • report to the Council on the results of these activities no later than December 2002. An interim report shall also be presented to the Council in November 2001.

Background

The institutions’ interest in new technologies indicates that the importance of these technologies is increasing. Since the Lisbon European Council (23-24 March 2000), which set the strategic goal of creating a competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy and specific objectives relating to ICT and education, several initiatives have been taken: the 2001 employment guidelines, the resolution relating to educational multimedia software, the communication on eLearning and the eLearning action plan. More recently, the Stockholm Council (23-24 March 2001) reaffirmed that improving basic skills, particularly IT skills, is a top priority for the EU.

Related Acts

Decision No 2318/2003/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 December 2003 adopting a multiannual programme (2004 to 2006) for the effective integration of information and communication technologies (ICT) in education and training systems in Europe (eLearning Programme) [Official Journal L 345 of 31.12.2003].

Twinning between secondary schools

Twinning between secondary schools

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Twinning between secondary schools

Topics

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

Education training youth sport > Lifelong learning

Twinning between secondary schools

Document or Iniciative

Report from the Commission to the Council on using the internet to develop twinning between European secondary schools [COM (2002) 283(01) – Not published in the Official Journal]

Summary

Background

This report is in response to the request of the Barcelona European Council of March 2002 to “undertake a feasibility study to identify options for helping secondary schools to establish or enhance an internet twinning link with a partner school elsewhere in Europe”.

The objective is to encourage all secondary schools (approximately 150 000 in Europe) to set up internet twinning links in order to develop joint educational projects by the end of 2006. This objective is in line with the process mapped out by the Lisbon European Council in March 2000 and later developed by the Stockholm and Barcelona European Councils, and it is intended to intensify and improve the use of the new technologies in order to develop a digital culture and achieve education systems’ future aims.

Internet twinning

In order make Europe the most competitive economy in the world, information and communication technologies (ICT) play an important role. The Lisbon Council had already asked Member States to ensure that all schools in the EU had Internet access by 2001. The Barcelona European Council also called on them to ensure that by 2003 the ratio of Internet-connected PCs to pupils was brought down to one for every fifteen pupils.

While traditional twinning had a secure reference base in the Socrates Programme, internet twinning is more closely linked to the eLearning and Netdays initiatives.

The internet twinning links, which are set to grow between pupils, teachers and schools, will in the near future help to strengthen ties between schools in order to promote exchanges of information or documentation and set up projects.

Activity

This report highlights several elements which are essential in ensuring that the internet twinning project gets off to a good start and functions smoothly:

  • setting up facilities and equipment in secondary schools;
  • training teachers and teacher-trainers by incorporating not only the multilingual and multicultural dimensions but also the importance of multimedia tools in educational projects;
  • setting up specialised services or structures to assist in the search for partners within the European Union, provide online assistance and follow up projects;
  • finding topics designed to bring people together, such as language learning, intercultural dialogue and European citizenship;
  • staging publicity events and demonstrations at European level, such as Netd@ys and eSchola.

Pending approval by the Seville European Council, a support framework for internet twinning will be set up at European level under the eLearning programme.

Related Acts

Council Resolution of 13 July 2001 on eLearning[Official Journal C 204 of 20.07.2001]

Communication from the Commission of 24 May 2000, eLearning – Designing tomorrow’s education[COM(2000) 318 final – Not published in the Official Journal]

Report of 27 January 2000 from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament: ” Designing tomorrow’s education – Promoting innovation with new technologies

Media literacy in the digital environment

Media literacy in the digital environment

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Media literacy in the digital environment

Topics

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

Audiovisual and media

Media literacy in the digital environment

Document or Iniciative

Commission Recommendation 2009/625/EC of 20 August 2009 on media literacy in the digital environment for a more competitive audiovisual and content industry and an inclusive knowledge society.

Summary

This Recommendation aims to increase media literacy in the digital environment in order to achieve a more competitive knowledge economy while contributing towards a more inclusive information society.

Definition

Media literacy is defined as the ability to access the media, and to understand and critically evaluate different aspects of the media and media content. Media literacy also includes the ability to communicate in a variety of contexts.

Barriers

There are still many barriers to the development of media literacy at European level. Member States still lack a shared vision in this area. In addition, the lack of visibility of national, regional and local initiatives in this area makes it more difficult to foster European networks. Consequently, for the moment, there is no coordination between stakeholders.

Challenges

Media literacy should enable European citizens to better understand and analyse the media messages and content they encounter and to acquire the skills which will enable them to play their role of citizen fully.

It may also contribute to safeguarding the pluralism and independence of the media. It permits the expression of diverse opinions from different social groups and promotes the development of the values of tolerance and dialogue.

Media literacy also plays an important role in enhancing awareness of the European audiovisual heritage and cultural identities. In fact, it helps to increase knowledge of and interest in recent European cultural works.

Faced with these challenges, the European Commission proposes encouraging research projects on media literacy in the framework of existing programmes.

Recommended action

Member States are invited to develop and implement co-regulatory initiatives leading to the adoption of codes of conduct relating to the European media.

It is important to promote and finance research, studies and projects covering the different aspects and dimensions of media literacy in the digital environment.

Member States are also encouraged to organise debates in conferences and public events with a view to the inclusion of media literacy in the education curriculum and as part of the provision of key competences for lifelong learning.

Member States should also implement national campaigns to raise public awareness of cultural heritage, as well as training to raise awareness of the risks involved in processing personal data through information and communication networks.

Moreover, the Media Industry is invited to suggest tools for improving the level of media literacy, such as:

  • information tools relating to digital content and search engines;
  • awareness-raising campaigns about techniques used for commercial communication purposes (product placement and online advertising);
  • information packs for young people on the processing of personal data;
  • information days on the creative economy and copyright.

Background

The Commission Communication of December 2007 on ‘A European approach to media literacy in the digital environment’ emphasised the importance of media literacy in relation to commercial communication, audiovisual works and digital content. A better level of media literacy would contribute towards the objectives that the European Union set for itself in Lisbon and in the context of the i2010 initiative.

Online gambling

Online gambling

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Online gambling

Topics

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

Internal market > Single market for services

Online gambling (Green Paper)

In 2008, gambling revenues reached EUR 75.9 billion. Online gambling is the fastest-growing gaming sector. This growth, and that of the Internet, makes monitoring these cross-border services difficult. National legal frameworks vary enormously from one EU country to another, imposing different rules for licensing, related online services, payments, public interest objectives, and the fight against fraud. The Commission therefore decided to launch a consultation to identify common practices which would facilitate the provision of cross-border services. The aim is to achieve a regulated internal market for online gambling.

Document or Iniciative

European Commission Green Paper of 24 March 2011, on on-line gambling in the Internal Market [COM(2011) 128 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

This Green Paper aims to launch a debate on the development of online gambling in the European Union (EU). There are currently two national models applied in this sector, namely:

  • a strictly regulated framework within which licensed operators provide services;
  • a strictly controlled monopoly.

However, the development of extensive illegal or “black” online markets (markets consisting of unlicensed operators) or “grey” markets poses a number of challenges. It is for this reason that the European Commission wishes to consult the various stakeholders in order to better frame the development of such activities at cooperative or cross-border levels.

Definition and current legislation

Gambling falls under Article 56 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU (TFEU) and is governed by service provision rules. The terms covers a wide range of service activities which individuals can access directly by electronic means, such as:

  • online sports betting;
  • casino games;
  • media games;
  • promotional games;
  • gambling services operated by and for the benefit of recognised charities and non-profit making organisations;
  • lottery services.

The Internet and other technological platforms (i.e. mobile telephones) are used in online gaming:

  • to offer gambling services to consumers;
  • to allow consumers to bet or gamble against each other (betting exchanges or online poker);
  • as a distribution technique (e.g. lottery tickets).

Communication techniques used by providers of online gaming services for promotion and supply

The main communication techniques used to promote online services are:

  • TV advertising;
  • printed press advertising;
  • online commercial communications;
  • sales promotions (e.g. premium offers);
  • direct marketing;
  • sponsorship agreements;
  • online banners and pop-ups on non-gambling sites.

Payment services and pay-outs

Generally, operators require customers to deposit funds on player accounts before playing by using:

  • credit cards;
  • e-Wallets;
  • bank transfers;
  • pre-paid cards;
  • cash transfers.

Customer identification

Customer identification is necessary for the protection of minors, the prevention of money laundering and fraud, and “know-your-customer” controls. However, the absence of mutual recognition of identification services across the EU raises difficulties.

Public interest objectives

The Commission identifies three public interest objectives which may be valid for Member States in defining their national online gambling policies:

  • consumer protection: this involves protecting gamblers against fraudulent services, particularly gamblers suffering from addiction. Member States already have available a number of instruments such as age limits, bans on the use of credit or restrictions on certain forms of games. The Commission proposes to discuss the effectiveness of such instruments in protecting consumers;
  • public order: Member States should seek to prevent fraud and unfair games, as well as money laundering. The Commission notes the application of certain types of measures such as customer due diligence, payment controls and operational controls in combating these practices;
  • financing of public interest activities: methods for channelling gambling revenues vary considerably from one Member State to another. The Commission wishes to examine more closely systems of revenue returns to event organisers, and the risks of “free-riding” revenue channelling schemes through the provision of online gambling services.

Payment blocking and liability regimes

Member States have a wide range of practices to manage the licensing, regulation and monitoring of online gaming. Through this Green Paper, the Commission wishes to analyse the actual role of regulatory bodies in the Member States.

Gambling authorities could cooperate with national and European stakeholders. The Commission wishes to strengthen this type of cooperation.

In some Member States, there are blocking schemes to limit illicit and cross-border online gambling services by:

  • Domain Name System (DNS) filtering;
  • Internet Protocol (IP) blocking;
  • Payment blocking, based on the operators’ Merchant Category Code (MCC).

The Commission intends to develop tools to foster this type of procedure at cross-border level, as well as other practices.

Internet of Things

Internet of Things

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Internet of Things

Topics

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

Information society > Internet Online activities and ICT standards

Internet of Things

2 emissions through the development in particular of health monitoring systems, connected trees and cars. The interconnection of physical objects will generate a genuine paradigm shift for society.

Document or Iniciative

Communication of 18 June 2009 from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions – Internet of Things: an action plan for Europe [COM(2009) 0278 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

This Communication presents the perspectives and challenges for the development of the Internet of Things (IoT).

Definition and existing applications of IoT

IoT is composed of a series of new independent systems operating with their own infrastructures which are partly based on existing Internet infrastructures. IoT can be implemented in symbiosis with new services. It covers three types of communication which can be established in restricted areas (‘intranet of things’) or made publicly accessible (‘Internet of things’):

  • things-to-person;
  • thing-to-thing;
  • Machine-to-Machine (M2M).

IoT currently covers several applications such as:

  • web-enabled mobile phones equipped with cameras;
  • unique serial numbers or bar-codes on pharmaceutical products;
  • smart electrical metering systems which provide a consumption report in real time;
  • ‘intelligent objects’ in the logistics sector (eFreight), manufacturing or retail.

The challenges of public governance

According to the European Commission, policymakers should also participate in the development of IoT alongside the private sector. Some challenges are indeed policy-related, as highlighted by the World Summit on the Information Society, which encourages IoT governance designed and exercised in a coherent manner with all the public policy activities related to Internet Governance.

Many questions concerning the implementation of the connection of objects arise such as:

  • object naming;
  • the authority responsible for assigning the identifier;
  • ways to find information about the object;
  • how information security is ensured;
  • the ethical and legal framework of IoT;
  • control mechanisms.

Faced with these challenges, the Commission proposes to prepare a set of principles underlying the governance of IoT, as well as a decentralised management structure.

Principles underlying the governance of IoT

The development of IoT must not take place to the detriment of privacy and personal data protection. In this regard, the Commission intends to publish a Communication on privacy and trust in the information society, as well as launching a debate on the freedom for individuals to disconnect from a network at any time.

In order to safeguard information security, the Commission proposes to step up monitoring and protection of critical information infrastructure.

Regarding standardisation, the Commission considers it sensible to take advantage of the deployment of Ipv6, making it possible to directly address objects. The Commission also intends to assess existing standards mandates which may include some issues related to IoT, or create others if necessary.

In the field of research and development, IoT represents a considerable challenge, insofar as it is related to wide societal problems. In this regard, the Commission will fund research projects in the field of IoT under the Seventh Framework Programme. Furthermore, IoT may also have a role to play in the four public-private partnerships set up by the Commission in the following areas:

  • ‘green cars’;
  • ‘energy-efficient buildings’;
  • ‘factories of the future’;
  • ‘Future Internet’.

These research activities are to be supplemented by the launch of pilot projects under the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP). These pilots should help to promote activities related to e-health, e-accessibility, climate change, or helping to bridge the digital divide.

The international aspect is also essential, insofar as the Commission intends to intensify dialogue with its international partners in order to establish benchmarks for common principles in the field of IoT.

Waste recycling should be facilitated by the implementation of IoT through tags which will make objects easier to distinguish during the process.

The Commission is currently concentrating its work more particularly on the availability of appropriate radio spectrum resources and on electromagnetic fields.

Context

The Internet has reached a turning point in its development. A network of interconnected computers is to evolve into a network of interconnected objects such as books, cars or electrical appliances. Although IoT is not yet actually implemented, this Communication gives an indication of the technology to come over the next 15 years.

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

Internet governance: the next steps

Internet governance: the next steps

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Internet governance: the next steps

Topics

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

Information society > Internet Online activities and ICT standards

Internet governance: the next steps

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council of 18 June 2009 – Internet governance: the next steps [COM(2009) 277 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

This Communication gives details of existing Internet governance systems and future action in this field.

Internet: architecture and operation

Internet stems from the world of academia and research. Originally, governance was established on a closed model, carried out by engineers and scientists.

Over time, the architecture has gradually opened up, to the benefit of new stakeholders and individual users.

The Internet is now based on an open architecture which is neutral and distributed. This structure constitutes an advantage in terms of security since any localised failure is less likely to interfere with traffic elsewhere.

The private sector has been in the forefront since the Internet began. It provides the investment, expertise and entrepreneurial initiative which foster innovation. The private sector operates most of the international backbone infrastructure, the national cable networks, and provides services that facilitate and manage traffic.

The IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force), a private body, has developed certain technical rules for the functioning of the Internet. RIPE NCC, another private entity, is responsible for assigning IP addresses at regional level.

The role of governments

Given the increasing role of the Internet in society, it is important that governments play a more active role in its development process.

The financial crisis of October 2008 has also changed public attitudes towards the concept of self-regulation. The public now aspires to more involvement on the part of public authorities in promoting the public interest.

However, the private sector must continue to play its role with regard to the daily management and development of the Internet.

The role of the European Union (EU)

The EU has been at the forefront of the discussions on Internet governance, particularly at the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) between 2003 and 2005.

The EU was also a leading actor in the international discussions which contributed to setting up the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).

The EU also highlights the importance of bridging the ‘digital divide’ and taking into account the interests of users in developing countries in Internet governance arrangements.

The EU puts forward the following key principles concerning Internet governance:

  • the core architecture should be respected;
  • the private sector should retain a leading role;
  • there should be multi-stakeholder participation;
  • governments should participate more actively;
  • inclusion should be a basic principle.

Assigning Internet names and addresses

The coordination of resources with regard to names and addresses is a key element in the functioning of the Internet. Originally, the IANA (Internet Assigned Numbers Authority) was responsible for assigning Internet names and addresses.

Given the development of the Internet, the American government decided, in the late 1990s, to contract some of the services provided by IANA from ICANN. This organisation operates according to the principle of self-regulation, whilst being responsible to the international community.

The American government agreement with ICANN ended in 2006, replaced by the JPA (Joint Project Agreement (pdf ).

ICANN succeeded in maintaining the stability of the Domain Name System for ten years and encouraged a participative decision-making process. However, some criticisms were made concerning its lack of representativeness and its monopolistic tendencies.

The next steps

The Commission encourages international partners to promote intergovernmental cooperation and dialogue in order to implement public policy principles in cooperation with the EU.

ICANN is also encouraged to complete its internal reforms in order to improve its transparency. It is, moreover, necessary that multilateral accountability should apply to ICANN.

Context

Internet governance is an absolute priority in terms of public policy. The EU has a leading role to play since it includes nearly 19 % of the world’s Internet users.

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

The open internet and net neutrality

The open internet and net neutrality

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about The open internet and net neutrality

Topics

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

Information society > Internet Online activities and ICT standards

The open internet and net neutrality

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 19 April 2011 – The open internet and net neutrality in Europe [COM(2011) 222 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

This Communication aims to promote the neutral and open character of the internet, in accordance with the Digital Agenda for Europe. The intention is to preserve the openness of the internet while enabling it to provide high-quality, innovative services, and to guarantee fundamental rights such as freedom of expression and freedom to conduct business.

The worldwide success of the internet may be explained in part by its openness and accessibility to all, individuals and companies alike. However, this Communication stresses that its full potential remains untapped.

Challenges to net neutrality

The concept of net neutrality is defined in part in the Framework Directive on electronic communications as the ability of end users to access and distribute information or run applications and services of their choice.

The current obstacles to net neutrality are:

  • the blocking or throttling of traffic by certain network operators, which takes the form of restricting access to internet services (online television, videoconferences, etc.) or to websites. The Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) and the national regulatory authorities (NRAs) may receive users’ complaints;
  • traffic congestion, which requires reasonable management. There are three different traffic management techniques to alleviate congestion:

    1. packet differentiation;
    2. IP routing;
    3. filtering, which makes it possible to distinguish between “safe” and “harmful” traffic.
  • lack of transparency, which prevents consumers from making informed choices in terms of services. NRAs are therefore obliged to set minimum quality of service requirements.

Regulatory framework concerning net neutrality

The provisions of the regulatory framework are structured around two principal elements:

  • the principles of competition: net neutrality is strongly correlated with market competition. It is therefore important that retail pricing of internet access is not regulated in the EU in order that consumers can benefit from a wide variety of services at different price points adapted to their needs.
  • the amended Telecommunications framework: this legislative framework was amended in 2009. It helps to preserve the open and neutral character of the internet by ensuring that consumers are informed about the:

    1. conditions limiting access to and/or use of services and applications;
    2. procedures put in place by the provider in order to measure and shape traffic so as to avoid filling all the network links.

    This framework also enables consumers to switch operators while keeping their numbers, within one working day.

Net neutrality is also strongly dependent on the protection of personal data.

Ways to preserve net neutrality and openness

The Commission is currently studying solutions to put in place to deal with obstacles caused by:

  • switching;
  • blocking practices;
  • throttling practices;
  • certain commercial practices at the root of blocking and throttling;
  • discriminatory practices by a dominant player.

However, the Commission must ensure that the measures taken do not hinder freedom of expression and freedom of information and continue to preserve private and family life as well as personal data.

Context

This Communication is based on the results of a public consultation on the open internet and net neutrality conducted between 30 June and 30 September 2010 with participants including network operators, content providers, Member States, consumer and civil society organisations and individuals.

The Commission intends to continue working with BEREC in order to adopt additional provisions on net neutrality.