With people increasingly using digital platforms and services, we want to ensure they can make the most of new products and have confidence in the growing digital economy.
If you’re like me you’ll have grown up watching Tomorrow’s World reveal the technologies of our not-so-distant future.
It was here that people got their first glimpse of cutting-edge devices such as the pocket calculator, the barcode reader and, most famously, the CD player.
Since it last aired in 2003, things have changed dramatically, and while I still don’t own a ‘hoverboard’, there has been a revolution in digital technology that has transformed the way we live.
Today, with a few taps of a screen, I can order a taxi, book a family holiday in someone’s home, buy a new book that will be delivered the next afternoon, and even borrow a dog for a day.
And if all that tapping feels too strenuous, I can get my devices to put on a Spotify playlist or change the channel at the command of my voice.
There is no end to the ways that people’s lives have been enhanced by developments in digital technology.
But if we want to continue to enjoy the various apps, platforms and services we’ve come to rely on, we need to think about how everyone can benefit from them.
Most importantly, people’s confidence and trust are central to the success of the digital economy.
At the same time, if we want to continue to benefit from cutting-edge services, we need to ensure that any approach to regulation focuses on improving people’s experience without limiting new innovations that prove popular.
G20 Consumer Summit
That’s why today, on World Consumer Rights Day, I’m in Berlin for the G20 Consumer Summit, along with other members of the consumer movement from around the globe.
The summit is hosted by the German government, Consumers International and the German consumer association, VZBV. We’ve been working closely with them to come up with 10 recommendations for members of the G20 to look at. These will then be used to help set common guidelines for ensuring consumers’ best interests in the worldwide digital space.
The recommendations cover everything from how countries should approach regulation, to providing people with clear information about digital products in a way that works best for consumers.
The responsibility for ensuring that consumers’ rights are protected online can’t be managed by one country alone. Instead, this will require collaboration with and by governments, international organisations and businesses.
That’s why we’re calling on the OECD, the global body whose aim it is to promote policies that will improve the economic and social wellbeing of people around the world, to be appointed to develop a toolbox of policies, actions and measurement. It would then report back to G20 ministers in 2018.
We also want to hear from you: what digital products or services have you come to rely on, and what is it about them that makes you trust them over another?