Page 34

SPOTLIGHT

DIGITAL ECONOMY

Open season complex (and possibly not that transparent) global supply chains.

Geoff Huston, Chief Scientist, APNIC*

©David Rooney

Another key change is the arrival of a growing number of platforms that facilitate consumer-to-consumer transactions. The scope of the Recommendation has been expanded to cover the business activity of “collaborative” online platforms that support transactions between consumers or “peers”, now commonly referred to as the “sharing” economy. These services, which blur the traditional boundaries between consumers and business, raise a number of difficult questions, including how to apply consumer protection frameworks to transactions involving non-traditional actors. These activities are also part of a broader set of policy issues affecting the online experiences of consumers and businesses, with implications for consumer protection, competition, taxation, social welfare and the effective protection of workers. Such challenges will keep policy makers busy for the foreseeable future adapting approaches that empower consumers with the tools they need to successfully navigate today’s dynamic e-commerce marketplace, while driving innovation, fair play and opportunity for all.

References OECD (2016), Recommendation of the Council on Consumer Protection in E-commerce, 24 March, OECD Council Document C(2016)13. Consumer Policy Guidance on Intangible Digital Content Products (OECD Digital Economy Papers, No. 241, OECD Publishing, Paris; DOI: http://dx.doi. org/10.1787/5jxvbrjq3gg6-en). Consumer Policy Guidance on Mobile and Online Payments (OECD Digital Economy Papers, No 236, OECD Publishing, Paris; DOI: http://dx.doi. org/10.1787/5jz432cl1ns7-en). Protecting and Empowering Consumers in the Purchase of Digital Content Products (OECD Digital Economy Papers, No. 219, OECD Publishing, Paris; DOI: http:// dx.doi.org/10.1787/5k49czlc7wd3-en). Report on Consumer Protection in Online and Mobile Payments (OECD Digital Economy Papers, No 204, OECD Publishing, Paris; DOI: http://dx.doi. org/10.1787/5k9490gwp7f3-en). http://oe.cd/1o5

32

I’m sure you’ve all heard about “the open Internet.” The expression builds upon a rich pedigree of the term “open” in various contexts. It gives the impression that “open” is some positive attribute, and when we use the expression of the “open Internet” it seems that we’re lauding it in some way. But are we, and if so, in what way? A useful characterisation of “open” is the Internet’s use of free, publicly available standards that anyone can access and build on to. This represents a major shift from the world of closed vendor-specific technology standards of just a few decades ago, as was common, for example, in the realm of mainframe computer technology. These days, new providers can

introduce goods and services that they can confidently expect to be fully compatible with the existing Internet infrastructure. Under this principle the Internet is not closed to new investments in the provision of good and services, and it minimises the barriers to entry. Another useful characterisation is that the Internet is “open” to all forms of traffic, and will treat all traffic that flows across the network in roughly the same way. This principle of the Open Internet is sometimes referred to as “net neutrality.” Under this principle, consumers can make their own choices about what applications and services to use and are free to decide what lawful content they want to access,

OECD Observer No 307 Q3 2016  
Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you