2014 - Ed. 8
ANEC @ Internet Governance Forum
ANEC Senior Manager, Chiara Giovannini, participated in two panel discussions at the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) meeting held on 2-5 September in Istanbul. The meeting was dedicated to “Connecting Continents for Enhanced Multistakeholder Internet Governance".
The first panel, organized by the ITU, discussed how Internet and Information Technologies could contribute to sustainable growth. Examples of how ICT can help in managing crops and water distribution were given. The panel also discussed the potential of ICT in reducing traffic congestion and car pollution. ANEC’s presentation focused on our activities in Smart Cities standardisation as an example of the possible contribution of the Internet to sustainability. Although the potential of ICT for sustainable growth was agreed by the panel, some interventions from the audience highlighted the differences between developing and developed countries.
At IGF workshop 49 “Internet standards: implementation & responsibilities: The impact of (non-)adoption of Internet standards on cyber security”, panellists agreed that a broad approach is needed for dealing with cybersecurity: technical standards, industry & vendor best practices on one hand and legal & law enforcement frameworks on the other. ANEC spoke about the important role of consumer protection, with higher protection levels set by default in order to protect vulnerable consumers. This was strongly opposed by a Google representative due to the claimed high costs associated with such an approach.
The Internet Governance Forum decided to ask the United Nations for a renewal of its mandate. The issue of net neutrality provoked a hot debate with little common understanding of the issues reached. Next year’s IGF is expected to discuss the issue in more depth. The concept of zero-rating was heavily discussed with divergent perspectives among developing and developed countries. Many workshops and participants, including WS 49 in which ANEC participated, agreed that there was a need for increased trust in cyberspace.
Hot air about vacuum cleaners
In July 2013, the Ecodesign and Energy labelling requirements for vacuum cleaners were published. ANEC was pleased that several of its recommendations made during the prior consultation were taken on board. We made particular reference to the need for durability requirements for the hose and motor. Although we regretted that the proposed Energy Label lacked clarity with regard to the way hard floor, carpet and dust re-emission is communicated, we considered the Ecodesign measure to be ambitious and to be beneficial from a consumer perspective. On 2 September 2014, the European Commission published the final Guidelines on the Ecodesign and Energy labelling regulations for vacuum cleaners.
A few days before the entry into force of the regulations, the measures received negative publicity in the UK. Due to misinterpretation of the legal provisions, there were claims that consumers would be left with poorly performing appliances as a result of the Ecodesign legislation. Similar claims appeared in other countries. In reaction, ANEC (and BEUC) decided to inform their members again of the benefits of these measures, and made a public statement welcoming the entry into force of the regulations.
ANEC meets with Mongolian MPs
In the framework of an EU-supported project with the Government of Mongolia, a delegation of members of the Mongolian Parliament met with ANEC Senior Manager, Chiara Giovannini, on 25 September in Brussels.
The Parliament is revising the Mongolian law on Standardisation, Accreditation and Conformity Assessment. In order to facilitate trade conditions and improve consumer safety, the law makers are considering the principles of the European Standardisation Regulation, (EU) 1025/2012. Our presentation on how European consumers participate in standardisation, and what they achieve, was well received. We proposed that the Mongolian Standardisation Law should establish an open and transparent system for all stakeholders to participate, as well as financial support to consumer experts.
CEN-CENELEC brochure on child safety
On 18 September, CEN-CENELEC published the brochure, European Standardization in support of child safety. It gives an overview of the European standardisation activities that contribute to improving the safety of products used by or with children, and includes information on recently-adopted standards, ongoing standards work and the technical bodies involved.
ANEC contributed to the drafting of the brochure, which is available online via the following links:
CEN website: http://goo.gl/8JUqzi; CEN-CENELEC website: http://goo.gl/guPFqO.
CEN standard for spatial networks in playgrounds
ANEC welcomed the publication of EN 1176-11:2014 “Playground equipment and surfacing - Part 11: Additional specific safety requirements and test methods for spatial network” on 20 August 2014. The standard specifies additional safety requirements for spatial networks intended for permanent installation in playgrounds.
We supported the adoption of the standard because of improvement of the requirements to avoid the risk of neck entrapment, as well as in the measurement of freefall height.
ISO/IEC Guide 71
ANEC welcomes approval of the new version of ISO/IEC Guide 71 Guide for addressing accessibility in Standards as tools are needed to help standardisers meet the needs of older consumers and consumers with disabilities. ANEC participated in the revision of Guide 71 and led the work on several items.
The Comment Processing Group (CPG), in which ANEC participated, will now review the comments and prepare proposals on how to deal with them. These will be submitted to the full ISO/IEC JTAG membership for approval. The Guide will be also published by ITU and the three International Standards Bodies have also agreed on a joint policy statement on "Standardization and accessibility" to be released with the new version of the Guide.
ISO/IEC Guide 71 was under parallel vote in the Technical Boards of CEN-CENELEC. ANEC supports its European adoption in order to ensure a consistency of approach at the European and international levels. Nevertheless, following some negative votes cast in CEN and CENELEC, the adoption of Guide 71 as a European Guide will be discussed at the meetings of the two Technical Boards in the last week of October 2014.
ANEC questions EU drinking water quality
ANEC responded to the European Commission’s public consultation on the quality of drinking water in the EU. In our response, we drew attention to pollution from sources such as agriculture, industry and inappropriate wastewater treatment, as well as from substances from materials in direct contact with drinking water that can threaten its quality. We also advocated extending the list of parameters in the Drinking Water Directive to include endocrine disrupters and other substances used in consumer products.
As regards consumer information, we called for detailed information to be made available for each analysis and for parameters not meeting the legal requirements.
The survey aimed to gather views on the need and the possible range of actions that could be undertaken to improve the supply of high quality drinking water. The Commission intends to use the results in deciding whether the Drinking Water Directive 98/83/EC needs revision.
ICT Rolling Plan
The European Commission ICT Rolling Plan - the EC work programme for ICT standardisation - is being reviewed in order to have a revision available from January 2015. ANEC provided comments on the different issues of consumer relevance, spanning from eAccessibility to Internet of Things and Smart Cities. We proposed that a horizontal priority on consumer personal data & privacy protection be introduced. We also see need for a standardised data protection framework for the development of ICT in line with current and future legislation.
An updated draft of the Rolling Plan will be submitted to the next meeting of the ICT Multistakeholder Platform (of which ANEC is a member) on 2 October 2014.
No “privacy by design” after all?
In September, the European Commission issued the draft standardisation mandate, 'Privacy management in the design & development and in the production & service provision processes of security technologies'. ANEC, welcomed the draft mandate as we support the principle of “privacy by design and by default”.
Hence it is with concern that we understand the mandate may be rejected by the members of CEN & CENELEC. We think that designing privacy and security in the development of technologies from the outset is essential to ensure that consumers’ personal data protection rights are respected (“privacy by design”). Consumers expect popular technologies to protect their personal data by default, especially when it concerns children. We urge the European Standardisation Organisations, the European Commission and the Member States to accept the mandate and start work as soon as possible, in the interest of consumers and business alike.
Safety of online sales
A second meeting of the Consumer Safety Network sub-group on the safety of online sales took place on 24 September. The findings and recommendations of the study “Good Practices Related to Market Surveillance Activities Performed on Non-Food Consumer Products” were presented. Different stakeholders from industry, the public and non-governmental sectors also presented their views and experience. ANEC spoke about the consumer perspective on safety of products sold online.
Online consumer reviews
The final report of the DG SANCO study on online consumer reviews in the hotel sector is available.
The study was commissioned to shed light on use of online consumer reviews for hotels, consumers’ reliance on such reviews and the possible harm caused by the biased presentation of reviews or false reviews. The study was accompanied by a survey on online false hotel reviews in March 2013, to which ANEC responded.
The final report found that consumers do not necessarily report fake reviews to the authorities and are often disappointed that their complaints are not addressed. This undermines trust and confidence. Among other potential measures, the report refers to the French standard NF Z74-501, which addresses online reviews, and the involvement of consumer organisations in helping to monitor the market and consumer complaints.
Meanwhile, ANEC plans to join ISO TC 290 ‘Online Reputation’. It intends to develop a package of International Standards on eReputation.
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