IGF 2021 - Day 2 - WS #100 Forging Trust in the Digital Economy: A Consumer Perspective

The following are the outputs of the captioning taken during an IGF virtual intervention. Although it is largely accurate, in some cases it may be incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors. It is posted as an aid, but should not be treated as an authoritative record.



>> ANNA KOMPANEK: Good morning and welcome.  Maybe let's give it one more minute for online participants to tune in and for onsite participants to find their way to the meeting room.

     It is wonderful to have everybody here in this unique but very appropriate sort of subject matter hybrid setting given how pervasive online reality made our offline reality in the last couple of months.

     All right.  Looks like we have critical mass so let's get started. 

     My name is Anna Kompanek.  I'm the Director of Global Programs at the Center for International Private Enterprise or CIPE joining you from Washington, DC where we are based.

     However, CIPE works in countries around the world with private sector, reformers and other types of civil society organizations and activists on a wide range of issues in the democratic and market-oriented spheres.

     Technology more broadly and internet freedom more specifically has become a major issue in our work, really a powerful undercurrent.  And today also obviously the importance of internet in our lives has been greatly amplified by the global pandemic. 

     Our topic today deals with forging trust in the digital economy and specifically looking at the consumer perspective.  We all appreciate how much the internet and the ability to combat e-commerce in particular has simplified our life and we all enjoy access to buying goods around the world and the convenience of shopping from your own house.  But at the same time there are a number of issues or risks that e-commerce has created and also the pandemic highlighted.

     For one, I have been recently looking at the OECD Committee on Consumer Policy survey of 13 countries that looked at the personal and financial detriment that consumers online experience. 

     And, in fact, almost half of the surveyed consumers experienced some kind of problem with their online order, although the majority we addressed still about 50% percent afterwards were not happy with the resolution.  Problems with product and delivery of it were the leading causes of complaints.

     Not surprisingly.  And but also keep in mind the detriment which go beyond the financial.  Many survey respondents also noted issues with stress associated with dealing with -- with having to address when something goes wrong with your order.  And, of course, those issues just scratch the surface of considerations or potential risks online. 

     These findings don't go into issues like data privacy violations, potentially exploiting ads or misleading ads or exploitation of goods online or cybersecurity risk.  There is a huge opportunity here, a huge global opportunity for economic empowerment and entrepreneurs and businesses around the world who can find new markets online. 

     In fact, Poland, the host of IGF this year, is such an example where also the e-commerce has been growing as one of the fastest countries in Europe.

     And by 2025, it is projected to cover about 20% of the market so one in four consumers will be shopping online.  So that is a huge opportunity both for consumers and for local businesses.  But also a risk.  So how do we move forward accounting for both?  To help me answer the question today, I have with me a wonderful international panel, hybrid panel.  Let me briefly introduce them.  The detailed bios are on the website. 

     Starting with Przemyslaw Palka, Assistant Professor at Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland and also an affiliated fellow at the Yale Law School Information Society Project. 

     And then actually onsite in Katowice, we have Paola Galvez, advisor to the Presidency of the Counselor of Ministers in Peru in charge of digital regulation with special focus on digital economy, cybersecurity and digital skills.  Paolo, the award for traveling the farthest on the panel.  My travel involves moving from one room to another in my house.  Thank you so much for making the trip.  Paola is also a lecturer at the University of Peru and in a program that unites managers together.

     And last, but not least, we have Pingkan Audrine, with a leading Indonesian public policy think tank based in Jakarta.  Welcome to the panelists and welcome again to the audience and let's get the conversation started.

     So first, I would like to focus on potential issues or risks that we see as the consumers purchase more goods and services online.

     And for the initial comments, I will turn to Przemy.

     >> PRZEMYSLAW PALKA: Thank you for the introduction and for putting together this panel.  And thanks everybody for coming. 

     Indeed, in my opening remarks I wanted to think about the question what precisely are the kinds of harms that consumers face in e-commerce and how these harms might impact the trust from digital economy.

     And/or put in other words, if we are to respond somehow to this process of digitalization either for legislation or activists of digital enterprise what should be the goals of this response. 

     As we said, internet is amazing.  It used to be democratic sphere for goods, for regulation. Right now the public narrative seems to be geared toward skepticism.  Issues like fake news, privacy, cybersecurity, online manipulation, discrimination, et cetera are on our radar. 

     And I think it is important that we manage to distinguish different types of potential harms that consumers face as these different harms might call for different responses.

     And maybe the most interesting way to do it from the consumer policy perspective is to look at the types of harms that occur when something goes wrong.  That is when technology malfunctions or where there is some fraudulent behavior by one of the parties to the transaction.  And harms that occur even though everything went in accordance with a currently lawful business plan.

     And when it comes to the first type of harms on one hand, we have the cybersecurity risks as you mentioned.  On the other there is problems with particularly fraudulent behavior if somebody, for example, orders a product but does not receive it, or receives something else. 

     This is becoming more and more complicated as more direct transactions between consumers in one jurisdiction and sellers in another jurisdiction become widespread.  Even though those are large problems from the point of view of the consumers, policy wise I don't think they are that new.  We are more or less used to dealing with them, definitely used to dealing with them in one jurisdiction.  And when it comes to transnational activities there are questions about whether legislation can help much, whether we should rely on private enterprise activities.  But it's not something that has changed that much. Maybe the scale has changed, but the character of the problem has not.

     A much more nuanced distinction when we look at the harms that can happen to consumers even though something works well.  The trader acts in accordance with his business plan, and everything happens lawfully.  And risks here can be almost entirely connected to pervasive data collection. 

     Because also due to the pandemic we spend more and more time online.  Essentially every move we make online is being recorded in some type of data point.  And then this data can be used for various reasons for targeted behavior.  Advertising, for designing services in a way that make them more engaging, that these people spend more time there.  Or can be used for price discrimination or other types of discrimination.  For example, discrimination in access to content.

     And the problem with these type of harms are that even though they might impact consumer lives to a large degree, the legislation as it stands now not only does not prevent them but also in a weird way legitimizes these types of activities. 

     When it comes to targeted advertising, for example, if the consumer agrees to their data being collected and used for such a purpose, the only threshold that the company must meet is for the advertisement not to be misleading.  However, with the ability to show us ads on our smartphones essentially any time everybody is vulnerable at one time or another.

     Right?  Like we might be tired.  We might be sleepy.  We might be particularly stressed, these type of feelings might also come from the way the service we are interacting with has been designed.  And that is something that definitely needs to be addressed.  Because even though for now it is lawful, it not only comes with monetary costs if somebody pays more for something that is not in accordance with their preferences but also with psychology costs, stress as we mentioned.  And that is something that I think we should be thinking about.  Thank you very much.

     >> ANNA KOMPANEK: Thank you.  And let me turn over to Paola.  I hope you can hear us well.  Give us your perspective how some of the risks that Przemy identified has been exacerbated through the COVID-19 pandemic and also just give us your perspective coming from a different part of the world in Latin America.

     >> PAOLA GALVEZ: Thank you, Anna.  I hope you can hear me well in Zoom.  Thank you so much for joining us here also in the room.  It is a pleasure to have this interesting discussion with you.

     First of all, I want to cite the former UNTA Secretary General once said that consumer protection is not only an economic best practice but also it's very vital for the success of digital revolution.  I could not agree more.

     Trust is fundamental to any human interaction.  Offline and online.  And in this case is we need human to be safe online and to feel safe online.  So it is our -- sorry, I'm going to -- it is our duty to foster this.

     Unfortunately, as you mentioned, Anna, during COVID, this mistrust has been exacerbated.  I am an open internet leader as you mentioned and during 2020 I conducted the research regarding the contact tracing effort developed in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Uruguay in order to examine the digital implications of these apps across the region. 

     In March last year when the mandatory quarantine periods started, many people had no choice but to become consumer of these content tracing apps.  And even though it was voluntary in Latin America, there were record amounts of downloads. 

     For example, in Peru, there are 40 million cell phones of which 25 million have access to the internet.  During the first 10 days after the app was launched the government received one million downloads which is huge for Peru in the case of a recent launch.  It is worth to highlight that according to my research, the privacy policies of these apps lacked transparency regarding the implemented measures -- security measures, excuse me, and they were very vague and very confusing, difficult to understand by any internet user.

     Also, in some cases the source code were not available for auditing.  I know that the governments deployed these data solutions in an emergency situation, but we need to be reminded this will not be the unique urgent circumstances and that is why when performing initiatives, that process personal data, it must be done with due respect for privacy as a fundamental of a democracy.

     Likewise, in my country, e-commerce transactions grew tremendously.  For in order for you to have a context, we have a year-over-year growth of 50%, an amount never reached before.  And 70% of these online consumers were first-time online buyers. 

     This context exposed them to many risks because of lack of the detailed skills, dissatisfaction when the process of the delivery because also local entrepreneurs were not prepared to receive such huge amounts of orders.  And also there were many scams and frauds.

     On the other hand, there were other troubles.  To build trust online, and I can mention fake news, data breaches that are exposing personal information of billions of people around the world, and the lack of harmonization of regulation at least in the region in Latin America.  We have many different regulations regarding consumer protection and authorities lack authority for enforcement abroad.

     So people do not feel comfortable when buying something from an e-commerce which is established abroad because if something goes wrong they do not have (break in audio), that is why we were discussing how we can give consumers more channels to be prepared and to have their data rights respected but also to foster the development of cross-border exports and cross-border e-commerce. 

     If you allow me before finishing my participation, I would like to hear from the audience onsite and online what are your concerns.  I will share my screen so you can see the code and you can please write down what are your concerns regarding consumer protection in the retail economy. 

     I think I found -- you can -- it is very easy.  You can go to www.menti.com and use the code that you see on the screen, 32732947.  The question is what is your main concerns around the digital economy from the consumer perspective? 

     And it will appear in the screen once you are entering.  It is just three words.  Your main concerns.  I know we have discussed some, but probably you have another idea so we can have more ideas of what are your concerns. 

     Let me -- I hope that in the Zoom you are seeing the screen and you can go and use the code that you are seeing.  The code is 32732947.  I can see now for instance that privacy, data breach, security.  That is the code.  Thank you.  Or also, please feel free here to tell me your concerns.  I can see trust.  Fake accounts.  It is moving.  Untrustworthy sellers.  Reliable delivery. 

     So, yes, and I believe many people are concerned regarding data breach and security because it is showing bigger now.  But yes, this is our most common concerns regarding the e-tail economy.  Thank you very much, Anna.  As you can see, these are the concerns of the audience and now we can keep the conversation flowing.

     >> ANNA KOMPANEK: Thank you, Paola.  All right.  The screen sharing is stopped.  All right.  Let's take another geographic perspective and move to Asia. 

     Pingkan, what are some of the concerns and risks and issues and developments you see in Indonesia?  And also abroad in the region when it comes to digital trust and the economy.

     >> PINGKAN AUDRINE: Thank you so much for the participants joining online and offline. 

     Good evening here from Indonesia.  In recent years I have worked with a team in foreign policy studies on digital economy issues and we witnessed how digitalization across all sectors are benefiting many Indonesians as well as the Asian countries. 

     Especially during the economy shock brought by the COVID-19 pandemic for the past two years that we can see.  And digital economy itself, we -- it falls under our committee and livelihood because we believe that digitalization can be growth and it should be supported with more regulatory framework that we also heard before is really something that we need to have.

     And for the technology itself, it has made the sector easily accessible for many people in the region as well as in Indonesia and allows more players in the digital economy to reach new markets and is also impacting more people welcome consumers of the digital products.

     And, however, we also see that these rapid advancements of the digital economies also comes with certain new risk pertaining to user data and also cybersecurity as seen in the region like Paola mentioned before in Latin America and also appears in the Asian country as well and should be addressed through the regulatory framework.

     But I would like to share more in particular in the area that is more prone to data privacy issues for many developing countries in Asia.  And also in Indonesia itself, especially from the people's perspective as the consumer in the peer-to-peer lending or specifically on the payday loans when people can borrow money online and they can pay it back in the time of few days or few weeks. 

     So it is kind of a new financial products that we can enjoy in many countries in Asia, and it also comes with a new certain kind of risk for the consumer if they are not aware of that.

     So access to mobile phones and the internet actually can help address the problems associated with the traditional financial services related to bank account and also how to actually access the loan online for productivity purposes or for more daily -- day-to-day activities.  And two-thirds of unbanked nations actually have access to a mobile phone at the moment which means they can -- they can potentially also access the digital financial services including the peer-to-peer lending as a product but also other financial technology. 

     However, from our research in 2019, it illustrated that this innovation -- this kind of innovation actually leads to a greater financial inclusion for the unbanked population but more opportunity but at the same time also comes with more risk.

     Especially with the situation of low education levels and then low awareness on the importance of protecting personal data, insufficient experience with the financial services, especially in the digital sphere, and also limited access to judicial or extra judicial complaint mechanism. 

     And especially targeting more the low income one and also those living in the rural area.  So we really see these kind of things becomes the area where many people also put more like invention, so they are having a predatory lending practices.  And also we can see the practice of fraud as well. 

     The predatory lending practices includes the excessive interest rate and aggressive debt collection practices and misuse of consumer personal data.  And I think it was earlier mentioned about the harmful effects that occurs on the economy, digital economy.  And this also appears not only in the e-commerce platforms but also in the peer-to-peer lending and financial services in the digital sphere as well. 

     The personal data privacy here has become one thing that needs to be discussed more from the government perspective as well as from the holders in order to find a way to regulate this for more protection to the consumer sides.

     Because we see that more people are into the technology adoption, and they use this digital lending for their daily basis, so it is really important to raise awareness to the borrowers about the risks and also about how to actually report any kind of digital criminal things to the government.

     So I think that is what I can share from the perspective in Asia and also in Indonesia.

     >> ANNA KOMPANEK: Thank you so much, Pingkan, and the entire panel.  We scoped the risk facing consumers online.  I want to turn now a little more towards solutions perhaps.

     Starting with something that has been kind of already queued up for which is let's talk a little bit more about the regulation of that space. 

     So for government, that is a natural response, right, if there is a problem, governments default to let's set the law and try and make it better somehow.  But that may or may not always be the case.

     So I will turn to -- I will take my moderator privilege and turn to the panel with another round of questions.  But also I want us to take this moment and remind our audience that they can also pose questions online through the chat.  And also I believe onsite there is the raise hand function. 

     We will be sure to leave plenty of time for Q&A so if you have questions share them and we will get to them in turn. 

     In the meantime, let me turn back to Przemyk, whether we think about the other measures of consumer protection, the European Union is one of the leading actors globally shaping new norms for passing laws and regulations on that subject. 

     Give us your assessment where the legal and regulatory landscape stands in Europe from the consumer protection perspective?

     >> PRZEMYSLAW PALKA: Thank you, Anna.  Indeed, in the recently passed and even more in the pipeline probably the most famous piece of legislation that most of you I think are familiar with is the GDPR which was passed in 2016, came into force in 2018. 

     That was supposed to be a law that unified the data protection laws for -- initially harmonized by the directive with both the goal of having the same standard for every country in the EU but also protecting what is considered a fundamental right in the EU that is personal data protection. 

     And this act is being promoted fiercely online as the model of data protection both through legal requirements if a European country wants to share data with a third country that country can't meet the requirements of the GDPR but also the rhetoric of this is the template and how we do it and how you guys should be thinking about.

     Meantime there is a Digital Services Act and Digital Markets Act supposed to regulate the platforms.  Artificial Intelligence Act which is supposed to put on a horizontal model on how to govern AI in general.  Right now is a perfect time to sort of look at the efficacy of the GDPR approach as it is flagged and used in other places.

     And I want to make clear that what I'm saying here is not don't regulate the internet, right?  I'm not anti-regulation.  I'm not one of the people who think the market will take care of itself. 

     But at the same time, I do think that we must vet regulation, and especially if we try to promote it as far as possible it could have harmful effects.

     GDPR is a perfect example.  It has been enforced for four years now.  But when it comes to fierce data collection and usage of the data to harm consumers, really not much has changed.  What has changed is that huge costs have been incurred by the businesses, both the giants and the smaller ones. 

     Anti-competitive phenomena have occurred where only the big players that can sort of afford the compliance with the law can certify that everything is fine.  And then if you are another business, you will be doing business with Microsoft or Google and not smaller emerging entities.

     And at the same time, all of these companies that collect and use data now have tons of the documentation that legitimizes these practices , right.  Now it's look, we have all of the documents explaining what we are doing and it's lawful. 

     And I can see a very similar risk with this upcoming legislation in the AI regulation and the Digital Service Act where the way the commission seems to be acting is they imagine a perfect world.  They describe this world in a piece of legislation.  And then they put a huge fine on companies that do not live up to the standards they draft, even though the standards sometimes are hard to achieve, sometimes are not very important.

     And the problem that we can see in Europe is that policy makers create this good feeling about themselves that comes from having passed a law.  And then they say well, if there are still some problems prevailing that is probably because we have an issue that is not enforced.  Very little is devoted to what precisely it is that we want to achieve through this acts and what are the acts that is the best way to do it. 

     So completely agreeing with what Paola has said about the need for unified legal standards and what is said for the need for regulatory framework.  I would just say a word of caution.  That is, first, if other countries look at the EU like remember that they also don't know what they are doing. 

     And a word of caution to all of us to remember that simply because we pass a law that requires the world to be perfect it does not yet mean that it is going to become one.

     >> ANNA KOMPANEK: Very true observation. 

     Paola, let me turn to you as a fellow lawyer from outside of the EU.  Obviously legislation such as GDPR has also had this demonstration affect around the world, inspiring governments in other countries to pass similar laws with the same caveat just mentioned where regulation may not necessarily be the answer. 

     From your perspective for an emerging market like Peru, is regulation the answer?  If not, what would you have?

     >> PAOLA GALVEZ: The simple answer is no.  In my opinion the regulation is not the answer and not the first option. 

     But we need to think carefully.  And first of all, we need to see what is the regulation that is in place in other countries because, as you mentioned, I'm a young professor at the University of Lima.  And when I do the e-commerce clause the first question I make is, is e-commerce regulated in Peru?  And they all say no, it isn't. 

     And then I ask them, how about the Consumer Protection Code, do you see this article when it says that it applies to any contract, it can be electronic or physical.  Oh, yes, it applies they said. 

     So we need to understand that we don't need a regulation specifically for each business model or technology that comes.  This is the first.

     If none of the law is applicable, then we need to think what is the best way to solve the public problem that we have.  Because sometimes with initiatives, we can solve the problem, we can help consumers. 

     I am a firm believer that all consumers need to have the right to access adequate information to make informed decisions mostly in the scenario that I just mentioned.  In Peru, for instance, more than 70% are first timers in buying online so they have a lot of doubts, and they need to see clear transparent easy to understand terms and conditions. 

     But if we create a law and actually as an advisor of the executive branch I tend to have many conversations with the Congressmen because with very good intentions they present bills only with obligations and fines.

     But fines is not the solution.  Because sometimes for entrepreneurs, it is easy to pay the fine but keep doing it the way they are doing it.  So we need to motivate them to comply with these solutions that are better for consumers.  So what we need is customer-centric initiatives. 

     Yesterday I was speaking with -- let me see the name, it is a bit difficult, the Polish Union of Entrepreneurs and Employers.  It happened the same here, they told me regulators would like to approve some laws but first it is important to speak with the one that need, consumers. 

     And then to speak with the private sector because they know how the market works.  And just to tell you an experience we are doing in Peru, we formed committees and we sit there, academia, the technical group as well, private sector and public sector.  And then we discuss what is happening in the market, what do you think will be the solution. 

     It is very difficult for us as moderators from the agency of leading transformation to balance different points of view and interest but from that discussions we can make commitments and initiatives.

     We have seen that in e-commerce the lack of detailed skills is one of the main challenges.  People buy but they do not understand what they are doing, how they use their credit card or Visa wallets.  And we agree that we will do a communication study that is better to approve a law with fines, and many obligations for the local entrepreneurs. 

     Because it can jeopardize innovation and we are about innovation.   And we are aware that that Peru is a developing country, and we want our local entrepreneurs to keep growing.  So this is my perspective, Anna. 

     But I don't think it is only happening in Latin America.  From what I discussed yesterday, some countries in Europe are suffering the same.  So it is -- these spaces, these conferences are so important because we can exchange views and think about these practices. 

     And as just mentioned, this will lead to a harmonization of norms or policies to bring a more -- a space that consumers can trust.  And this is our duty in the end.  Thank you.

     >> ANNA KOMPANEK: Thank you, Paola.  I'm hearing two important insights. 

     One that good intentions don't necessarily pull good results.  That applies from the legislative sphere.  More probably in any sphere of life but particularly when it comes to legislation and regulation.

     And another trend of concern is just passing the law top down maybe inspired by another country, maybe without sufficient effort to translate local law to match local realities and just relying on copying and pasting.

     And also passing the laws without sufficient consultation with the people that are affected by it including local businesses.

     Let's continue that thread.  Pingkan, tell us about your experience in Indonesia.  And I know there are interesting efforts you are working on that could maybe be an example of how to make regulation a little more inclusive, a little more participatory and a little closer to the subjects being regulated.

     >> PINGKAN AUDRINE: What happened in Indonesia is similar what Paola shared in Peru with the regulation itself. 

     The government cannot act alone to achieve the balance between the right amount of safeguards they are looking for and also the right amount of facilitation of fostering the digital economy as well as protect the consumer rights at the same time. 

     The traditional policy making process are ill-equipped to keep up with this kind of dynamic sector of digital economy that is with the speed of innovation or address the symmetry in practice. 

     The digital governance has resulted in more legal uncertainty and could come with the overburden for the private sectors which also become the counterparts for the governments in fostering the digital economy sector. 

     So, for example, in Indonesia we are also facing fraud kind of issues like unclear local content stipulations and content for the user generated content platforms including for the e-commerce platforms and then fake and costly data management obligation for the private sectors.

     And therefore more of a commoditive approach is really needed here.  And they come up with approach called the co-regulation that should be considered for governments in Indonesia specifically.  And also we believe that this concept also could be more streamlined in other countries in regulating their digital economies. 

     So we in for a couple of years actually have been research and focusing on this issue and we are grateful for the amount of support coming from CIPE as one of our partners in doing so.  So actually we implemented one of the guideline that already published by CIPE in fostering this kind of multi-stakeholder approach in regulating digital economy and enabling in digital economy.

     Maybe wonder what is co-regulation approach.  So the co-regulation approach itself allows sharing responsibilities between actors, be it the government and also the private sector and civil society.  And issues already mentioned are data governance and digital divide between countries and even skills and the inequality to access to the use of technology. 

     It actually goes beyond regulators simply giving their inputs from other non-government stakeholders but also to consider shared responsibilities in the implementation process, so it is not -- it doesn't stop in the policy making process but to give more responsibilities in conducting those policies and practice. 

     And then, of course, we still need under the eye of regulators implementing this co-regulation push but the idea actually to serve that business also would be in a better position to understand the market as well as with the rapid development of the digital products that come in.  So they will have also known what -- what things to be enhanced to protect their consumers, be it from the digital products like the e-commerce platforms or the peer-to-peer lending platforms. 

     So this kind of thing is really important to be heard.  And we -- we in CHIPS at Indonesia also talked to more government in the minister level and they are actually open to this new approach. 

     It is actually not really new, but it is new term because perhaps more and more people in the government of Indonesia usually only knows about the self-regulation which is more centralized in the private sector as the sole actors. 

     With this co-regulation approach, we would like to bring collaborative action between multi-stakeholders and between the government and private sectors and civil society. 

     One of the examples which is successful in stimulating innovation that results in inclusive financial services.  And from other countries, the neighboring countries of Indonesia and Singapore, this kind of regulatory sandbox actually occur in the personal data protection area.  So they are working on civil regulations on the personal data protection using this regulatory sandbox approach.

     So it is one thing that perhaps could be considered for countries in in other region as well in dealing with the rapid changes of digitalization.

     >> ANNA KOMPANEK: Thank you, Pingkan.  And definitely I think around the globe we have seen other examples of regulatory sandboxes as a useful approach where you give a space for private sector to innovate.  And then based on that experience shape how the law should apply more broadly. 

     You also highlighted an important aspect of perhaps trying to match the version of government, self-regulation by business with the harder regulation by government in the process of co-regulation. 

     And just to give a note of explanation, I posted in the chat for our audience a link to the CIPE resource that you mentioned.  A while ago we published a digital economy enabling environment guide with the audience in mind being primarily private sector, so business associations, chambers of commerce in emerging markets where the new laws and regulations issues like data privacy, consumer protection, cybersecurity are being passed.  And yet the private sector beyond tech companies may not have very good understanding of the issues or ways to engage with the government.

     So our thoughts behind was to give the private sector an additional tool.  What we found interesting since then is actually many policy makers have also been interested in the guide which highlights could be another issue we haven't explored quite in depth which is often government regulators also do not have a full understanding of the issues or implications.  So it is education that needs to happen on both sides.

     All right.  And before we move on to Q&A, let me also post the link to something else that we mentioned in conversation with Paola which is the open internet for democracy initiative.  And Paola is one of our wonderful alums. 

     It is an annual nonresidential leadership program.  Some of the internet leaders participate in this IGF.  So if you look at the website and see the bios, some names and faces might look familiar from other panels.  With that, let's turn to the Q&A.  And looks like we have a raised hand onsite.  So let's see if we can connect there.

     >> AUDIENCE: Hi, my name is Marta, I'm from the Office of Consumer Protection in Poland.  It is very interesting to listen to this and we also have a panel tomorrow on sustainable consumption in e-commerce. 

     So I'm happy to hear this and listen everything.  So my office is an enforcer of consumer law.  So it is interesting to hear that discussion here and listen a little bit what you think about the regulations and about law. 

     We also participate, of course, in the policy making of consumer protection laws.  For me it is interesting to hear and one of the panelists already answered partly to this question.  Because, of course, I agree that part of the -- of the -- I mean from our perspective, enforcement of consumer law is essential. 

     And personally I think that it is a tool, regulation is a tool that is guaranteeing compliance because it is the strictest kind of tool that you can have for ensuring some kind of level of consumer protection because it imposes some obligations, and they have to -- they can be enforced by an authority.

     But I also agree that there is other kinds of actions that are necessary and that can help.  And these are perhaps things like soft actions and cooperation and cooperation with different actors and different organizations. 

     So I was interested to hear a little bit on that because while I agree that this is very important also from the participative point of view, I mean it enables also different perspectives and help us regulators to see a little bit more the problems in the field.

     It's also making some kind of change, but for me it is interesting to hear how can we make sure that these kind of self-actions and cooperation among different actors will also be effective.  Thanks.

     >> ANNA KOMPANEK: Is your question to a specific panelist or open it up.

     >> AUDIENCE: Just if anybody wants to answer but that is my reflection.

     >> ANNA KOMPANEK: Since the question came from Poland, maybe I will give it to you first and then see if anybody else wants to chime in.

     >> PRZEMYSLAW PALKA: Sure.  Thank you very much. 

     Look, from the enforcer's point of view, of course, it seems like regulation is the thing that you want to have, right?  Because then there is the particular norm, particular provision that you can focus on enforcing and if somebody crosses it then you can initiate proceedings and it seems like something is happening.

     When it comes to consumer protection itself, if you look at the types of problems that we currently see in digital economy, say, with targeted advertising, imagine a situation in which I wake up in the morning and I'm tired and had a rough night for whatever reason and the platform that shows me ads, say, Facebook or Google knows about it because they are tracking the time I usually sleep. 

     And they have the ability to influence the way I feel about the world through the content they show me, right?  So Facebook shows me some sad or outrageous news in the morning, and I feel bad about it.  And now there is product advertised to me which is judged by the delivery system is much more likely for me to purchase in this particular moment. 

     This particular purchase might run against my long or medium term preferences, in short I don't need that product.  I don't want that product.  But in the particular moment I feel like, you know, buying it will solve my emotional distress in which I find myself in.

     Is this unlawful under polish or European consumer law?  Not really.  The ad is not deceptive.  It might be judged as an aggressive practice, but we all know how hard it is to meet that threshold. 

     Under the law as it is, everything is fine even though there is this particular harm to the consumer.  This is on the point that law, regulation is necessary to ensure compliance.  Sure, within the system that already exists.  But there might be several problems that fall out of it. 

     I don't think anyone here is saying well, the less regulation the less enforcement.  The sentiment strikes me as let's be much more mindful when designing the law and let's be much more -- let's have a shared responsibility in its enforcement.  It is not just for the Bureau of Consumer Protection in Poland to look at such practices.  Also for the competitors to look at such practices, right. 

     If this is a consensus in the community that this type of practice should not be allowed there might be certain companies that are better equipped through the technology experience and knowledge of the market to detect the type of activities and maybe warn the enforcer, maybe warn the public.  I think that is just the sentiment we were trying to flag here.  Thank you for the question, though.

     >> ANNA KOMPANEK: Thank you.  And Pingkan, anything to add on that front from your experience of best practices in engaging the local stakeholders in developing the law but also enforcement which you think is also a shared duty?

     >> PINGKAN AUDRINE: To the enforcement itself already become one challenge in Indonesia.  Because for the digital economy sector, actually there are around 14 government institutions or ministries that are in charge for this.

     So there are a lot of regulations from the law until the minister level regulations that are -- comes around 60 regulations at the moment.

     And some of them also overlap into each other.  So with this kind of regulations, we need to do more dialogue on what regulation that actually needs to be amended and what regulations are no longer working to protect the consumers and also to foster the digital economy sectors in Indonesia.  So when we talk with more government institutions, we are also trying to emphasize this kind of thinking.

     So they would like to consider what they are planning because most of the time they are thinking that by having more regulations in place, it actually is great for the implementation process.  But at the current state in Indonesia with the large number of regulations in place, actually the implementation is not really well.

     So we can see there is like more a counterproductive reality compared to what they are trying to have with being more regulation in place.  And also shared the same concern with Przemyk before about this.  I believe that is not only about the regional perspective but perhaps more global perspectives on the regulatory framework as well.

     >> ANNA KOMPANEK: Thank you.  Do we have any other questions from the audience?  Paola, did you want to also --

     >> PAOLA GALVEZ: There is a question onsite.

     >> AUDIENCE: I'm Anna from Moscow University.  And I agree that all economic platforms collect our personal data and information, our preferences because we click the agree button when we -- when we move to the platform and when we sign the user agreement.

     So if is the circumstance of user agreement and no one, nobody can define these terms.  Only the platforms.  And maybe you know some examples when states or maybe some organizations of self-regulation define the demands to e-commerce platforms about terms of user agreements.

     For example, can I refuse to give all my personal data and to continue to use the platform?  Of course, no.  It's a special type of contract when I join to the terms in whole and I can't change any circumstance, any terms of this agreement. 

     How is it possible to regulate it?  And if you know examples, we would be glad to refer them.  Thank you.

     >> ANNA KOMPANEK: Paola, would you like to take this question?  I'm turning to lawyers on the panel first.

     >> PAOLA GALVEZ: Very quick because we only have one minute.  Maybe we can keep going the conversation in the site here.  But yes, this is a huge challenge because companies are not understanding yet that people need to understand what is accepting. 

     And that is why we need to start working more designed thinking way and regulators and lawyers need to start writing in a more simple way.

     Or first, to put the basic information in the beginning and yes, make it mandatory that people should open and scroll down and read.  And if we do it in a graphic way and Q&A way and we prefers should be teaching at school.  This is what we are doing at University of Lima actually. 

     Probably a way of doing this roundtable multi-stakeholders roundtable meeting that I mentioned is good.  But yes, if this does not change, this is something that regulators can be tackling because it is important, I mean people are probably accepting to give all their life and their information to the companies.  So yeah, we need to start looking at this.  Sorry, I rushed, but I just see the clock.

     >> ANNA KOMPANEK: Thank you.  And yes, there are some tools that help to translate the legalese to something more understandable for the consumers. 

     You can look at the user agreement and maybe highlights the key sections of it.  Przemyk, do you have any thoughts on that in the last minute or so of the panel?

     >> PRZEMYSLAW PALKA: I would just add that on top of making easier for consumers to understand it what they agree to as was rightly pointed in the question, sometimes there is no real choice, right? 

     Like I don't really have a choice whether I use Zoom or Google or Facebook because I have to, right?  I'm forced to do so by my life circumstances. 

     On top of making easier for people to know that there are various ways the law tries to move that from the transaction.  In the EU, we have the legislation that certain terms just cannot be put in the contract.  GDPR has about the personal data collection part of the contract. 

     But I think instead of doing what the EU is trying to do now which is just pass one act that will solve all of the problems over the platforms, we should in a more tailored way look at the particular harmful types of activities that the platforms engage in when it comes to data and just regulate one by one. 

     Lawyers in Europe don't like it.  They like one short law to solve everything, but maybe certain ways in which data is collected is not harmful, right?  Not all personalization of advertisements is bad.  So just focus on the psychological harms and the abuse of vulnerability parts and respond maybe within consumer law, not necessarily within the protection law would be my one-minute answer.

     >> ANNA KOMPANEK: Given we are at time, any final words or thoughts on educating consumers or helping them better understand their rights online?

     >> PINGKAN AUDRINE: For the consumer itself regarding your own voice in digital spheres especially in using digital products it is really important to actually be aware of what you are using on daily basis and what are you obliged to do within the services. 

     So when we already know about that we become more aware in terms of what may come in.  so it is really important to be mindful about the formats we are using and also to put our personal data protection in top of mind by creating passwords manager and also put that in place. 

     So more in terms of this self-approach to protect about this.  And we can also talk with our family and friends regarding this issue.  So educating consumers can be started with our own circles so it is really important to keep that in mind.

     >> ANNA KOMPANEK: Thank you so much.  With that, we are officially out of time.  Many thanks again to the panel.  Thank you very much to the audience onsite in Katowice and online.  And we hope to continue this conversation offline and online.  So do stay in touch.  Thank you so much.