lunes, 5 de octubre de 2015

Tackling the challenges: The French #Digital Republic Bill

As happened with the XX century, it looks that the XXI century has started with some delay. If a war is considered the starting point of the XX century, the digital revolution will be considered in the future the starting point of the XXI century. Although it is difficult to determine the starting point of the digital revolution, I would vote for the day  the iphone was presented. But defining the starting point is less important now than facing the new reality. Tackling the risk and challenges of the new landscape required new laws. Following the latter line of thought, the French government is working on "The Digital Republic Bill".

The incomparable sense of making history of the french people has pushed its government to design the law around three axis named after the French Revolution motto: "Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité". Freedom for the flow of data, Equality of rights for Internet users and Fraternity through an inclusive society. The final objective of the French government is two-fold:
  • Giving France the lead in digital technology
  • Forging a resolutely contemporary digital policy

For this purpose they have proposed a law draft with three chapters, one per each of the above mentioned axis. However, it is not a closed draft yet. In a recognition of the complexity of the task the law draft is open for comments for some weeks.

The law draft has been published only in French. It contains many interesting ideas for policy makers and it is difficult highlighting one of them. However, perhaps the more interesting part due to its connection with the global European digital debate are the articles dedicated to the regulation of digital platforms. The draft introduces a definition of platform, establishes requirements for data portability to ease service switching and set obligations regarding information for the consumer. After many claims jointly with Germany for the regulation of platforms at the European level without a concrete answer from the European Commission beyond a public consultation, France has decide to face the issue by itself. The decision is based in many interesting previous studies as this one regarding the neutrality of digital platforms.

It is not difficult to forecast that the Digital Republic Bill will be analysed by many policy makers around the world and set the course for many forthcoming regulations. Nevertheless, it shows again the main of the European weaknesses in the digital arena: the fragmentation of the European Digital Market. The European Institutions, in particular the European Commission, should be more agile in order to tackle the digital challenges. The alternative is making the Digital Single Market a too far to be reached target.

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