EU Considers New Website Takedown Rules to Protect Consumers

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Internet service providers may soon be required to block content or websites that scam consumers, under draft legislation approved by the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee of the European Parliament on Tuesday.

The legislation would create uniform rules for taking down e-commerce websites, reflecting a proposal by the European Commission as part of its Digital Single Market strategy.

For the legislation to advance, its final text will need to be agreed on by the European Council and Parliament. It is intended to close loopholes created by differing national enforcement protocols for websites. In 2014 the EU Commission found that 37 percent of e-commerce and booking websites for travel, entertainment, clothing, electronic goods and consumer credit services broke consumer laws.

See also: GDPR Compliance Presents Business Opportunity to Proactive Cloud Firms

Some EU enforcement authorities are currently restricted from taking down websites containing scams pending the conclusion of the investigation, among other limitations. The draft legislation would grant new powers for national authorities to check geo-blocking by e-commerce sites, track down “rogue traders,” and ultimately order that sites be shut down.

“This regulation has a big potential to significantly strengthen cross-border cooperation between authorities in the area of enforcement of consumer protection laws. As traders increasingly operate across the internal market, we need efficient mechanisms when something goes wrong,” Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee rapporteur Olga Sehnalová (S&D, CZ) said. “The cornerstone of the revised rules consists of a set of investigation and enforcement powers for competent authorities in all member states, with a possibility of redress for consumers. We also call for better involvement of all entities with legitimate interests in consumer protection, in particular consumer organizations, when tackling infringements.”

EU Parliament spokeswoman Isabel Nadkarni told Bloomberg BNA that the proposed initial text of the draft was controversial, but a draft report (via the BNA) on “compromise amendments” permits officials to order a website to be shut down or a domain name deleted only as a last resort.

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