EU worries that privacy protects online review cheats

EU and country flags - Wikimedia CommonsThe EU is worried that fake online reviews might ruin the consumer market and damage legitimate businesses.

The Commission is considering an idea of forcing all EU citizens to log into online accounts using their government-issued ID cards.

The cunning plan’s details can be found in a proposal named “Online Platforms and the Digital Single Market Opportunities and Challenges”.  It made an appearance on 25 May and, like many Commission ideas, it was unnoticed by the press – not even the Daily Express that normally loves to give a balanced coverage of EU rules leading to a greater understanding of how Brussels works.

The reason that the anti-Brussels press would love a story like this is because it basically requires those who write reviews to give up their privacy and publish reviews under their own name. They must also be EU citizens and have an ID card.

This prevents people writing reviews under multiple handles to either kill off competition with bad reviews, or enhance your own product with fake ones.

“ Online ratings and reviews of goods and services are helpful and empowering to consumers, but they need to be trustworthy and free from any bias or manipulation. A prominent example is fake reviews, ” the EU said.

Using the ID number is important because usernames and password combinations are inconvenient and a security risk.

“To keep identification simple and secure, consumers should be able to choose the credentials by which they want to identify or authenticate themselves. In particular, online platforms should accept credentials issued or recognised by national public authorities, such as electronic or mobile IDs, national identity cards, or bankcards.  ”

By forcing EU citizens to use their real identities when logging into their online accounts, it will stop people in non-EU countries from posting fake reviews.

Of course, the idea has no chance of passing through the European Parliament in its current form. But it does indicate that the EU is thinking about how to tackle the problem.

The reason we know the proposal is not going anywhere is because the European General Data Protection Regulation (EGDPR) has recently come into effect, a law that boosts online privacy protections for EU citizens, this proposal goes against that completely.