Stage 3
15:00 - 16:00
Fighting for Transparent Conditions For Consumers and Smart Devices

Short thesis

Consumers worldwide face major challenges in the use of connected devices: data leaks, privacy breaches and malware are common threats from Brazil to Germany. Data-driven business models can enable better products for consumers, but also increasingly shape unfair markets without choice. What can governments, regulators or consumer organizations do to empower sovereign consumers and foster transparency and fair conditions?


The recent media outcry over Cambridge Analytica's practices and facebook’s eminent role in it have demonstrated that people worldwide are calling for consumer protection regulation and transparency on business practices. However, convenience often eats compliance for breakfast, especially if no pro-privacy choices are available. We may want to erase our facebook accounts – but what about our mobile money transfer systems or smart home applications we have integrated into our daily or business routine? Is it not convenient that the ridesharing app can track our location? Cashless transfers and check-ins via smart devices are also quite handy – from Ghana to Mongolia. It is obvious that companies providing these services need our personal data. However, does our consent to use our data really provide a carte blanche to use them for anything - and interlink them with any data on our connected device? Do data and privacy always have to be pitted against the principles of competition and innovation?

This session aims at discussing different approaches to state-of-the-art consumer protection, regulation and enforcement, its challenges and unseized potentials with three internationally networked and renowned experts.

We want to look at consumer protection from the viewpoint of regulators, civil society and consumer organizations as well as from private sector. What is the European General Data Protection Regulation about to bring to markets? What challenges shall be tackled with the EU ePrivay-Regulation? What can we learn for consumer protection enforcement from the “NetzDG” and the principle of market place location? Which approaches have different countries taken, what has been successful and what has failed? Are there industry standards or useful self-regulation approaches?

We live in increasingly data-driven societies and economies fuelled by data trackers in our pockets. Which is the data economy and society we as sovereign citizens want to inhabit?