Cancellation of EU ‘geo-blocking’ laws gives consumers more access to online services

EPA / ETIENNE LAURENT

(FILE) A file picture dated 15 September 214 of the French Netflix webpage displayed on a computer screen in Paris, France.

Cancellation of EU ‘geo-blocking’ laws gives consumers more access to online services


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A geo-blocking legislation on the Digital Single Market that recently entered into force allows subscribers to have the service available from outside their national borders, making popular sites such as Netflix ‘transportable’ from abroad.

The legislation prohibits online businesses in the EU from applying practices that discriminate against consumers on the basis of their nationality, place of residence, or place of establishment. Online consumers were previously left without access to services available in their home countries, including being denied access to offers in other countries by being re-routed back to a country-specific website or by being asked to buy goods or services using a local debit or credit card.

Under the new EU regulation, similar types of ‘geoblocking’ will now be prohibited.

The European Commission is expects the private sector to use the transition period before the law comes into effect on December 3 to adapt and introduce the necessary changes needed to comply with the new rules.

The EU’s Commissioner for Digital Economy Mariya Gabriel, Vice-President of the Commission Andrus Ansip, Bulgarian Minister of Transport, Information and Communications Ivaylo Moskovski, and MEPs Pavel Svoboda and Jean-Marie Cavada issued a joint statement saying: “From December 3 onwards, European citizens will enjoy the freedom of shopping for goods and services online. This is not only the end of unjustified discrimination, but it also opens up new opportunities for European companies to grow and innovate,” adding, “Ending unjustified geo-blocking is part of our effort to encourage e-commerce across borders in the EU, along with more transparent parcel delivery prices, stronger consumer protection, and simplified VAT rules.”

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