EU Regulators Expand Scrutiny On Data Practices – And Bots

European Regs Expand Scrutiny On Data Practices

It’s a new year, and in Europe, an expansion of scrutiny and laws governing data sharing.

The dawn of 2020 brought a spate of new rules governing data collection and use.

And beginning earlier in the month, new laws seek to tackle “rogue traders and online tricksters,” as denounced in a statement by Vera Jourova, the EU’s commissioner for values and transparency. That applies, too, to online ticket sales.

As reported in CIO, the directives that are now in place take aim at activities tied to entertainment and other events. For example, firms are banned from using bots in a way that allows them to buy thousands of tickets for events and then resell them for highly marked-up prices. In other examples, end users must be informed when prices are based on their internet browsing histories. Sites are also required to offer free services that inform users when data is being collected and how it may be used. And, as has been reported, breaching these rules means companies may be fined by the EU the equivalent of up to 4 percent of revenues.

Said EU Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders in a statement, “this will be a sufficiently dissuasive and effective penalty to prevent dishonest traders from cheating.”

In India, Too

In India, Reuters reports that the government has mulled changing the rules that govern digital content. Under a revamp, the strictest measures would apply to larger social media companies, according to the newswire, citing government sources. The original rules would have applied to all tech companies, not just larger ones, and would also impact eCommerce, telecom and other tech companies. The rules would mandate that companies use automated means to detect unlawful content and also appoint corporate officers for 24/7 coordination with law enforcement officials.

As reported by Reuters, the IT ministry is examining a two-tiered system for the rules. Social media firms such as Facebook and WhatsApp would face the stricter rules, which would also require that companies remove content deemed unlawful within 24 hours.

A California CFPB?

News came, too, that in California, Governor Gavin Newsom is unveiling plans to create a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) at the state level, which, according to reports, would overhaul the existing Department of Business Oversight. The agency would be renamed the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation.  There are other state versions of the agency, such as in Pennsylvania and New York, where efforts are focused on fighting consumer fraud and ensuring that firms comply with state laws.

Penalties in the New Year

In an example of fines tied to data breaches and compromises, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is fining Dixons Carphone £500,000 (about $650,000). As noted in this space last week, the ICO said that fraudsters had installed malware on 5,390 tills at Currys PC World and Dixon Travel stores.  Across the nine months that the malware had been installed, it affected 14 million customers and 5.6 million payment card details found their way into the hackers’ hands. The incident occurred before the advent of GDPR; the fine would have been larger under GDPR rules.



The How We Shop Report, a PYMNTS collaboration with PayPal, aims to understand how consumers of all ages and incomes are shifting to shopping and paying online in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our research builds on a series of studies conducted since March, surveying more than 16,000 consumers on how their shopping habits and payments preferences are changing as the crisis continues. This report focuses on our latest survey of 2,163 respondents and examines how their increased appetite for online commerce and digital touchless methods, such as QR codes, contactless cards and digital wallets, is poised to shape the post-pandemic economy.