The Parliamentary Assembly is concerned that technological and commercial innovations in Internet and other digital information and communication media are taking place without an adequate analysis of the interests of the weakest part in this process: the user or consumer. For nearly a century, consumer protection principles have been established for traditional commerce of goods and services. However, they are more or less absent in modern cyberspace. Voluntary self-regulation by Internet stakeholders falls short of the legitimate expectations of protection.
In their use of the Internet, people come into contact with a multitude of intermediaries and software applications of third parties without knowing. Users of mobile communication devices change their intermediaries while moving. The Internet of things, cloud computing, social networks, peer-to-peer networks and other collaborative Internet services, for example, blur the enforceability of user rights and freedoms as well as the applicability of national law and the jurisdiction of domestic courts.
Individual users and our societies as a whole depend increasingly on Internet and other digital media services. Digital news services, e-learning, e-work, e-commerce, e-banking, e-administration, e-government, e-security systems and e-medicine are just a few examples. Shortcomings and failures may produce huge damages.
Greater transparency and accountability are necessary for improving security in cyberspace. The Assembly recommends that standards should be developed for user protection and security with regard to the Internet and new information and communications services.