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Updated : 20/11/2015


Accessing and using online services

Internet connection

In the EU you are entitled to have basic, affordable, good‑quality online services, provided to your house or flat.

This means that there must be at least 1 service provider in your country who can do this for you. Under EU law, this operator is known as the "universal service provider".

To find out more, contact the national regulatory authorities in your country. They will put you in touch with your universal service provider.

Sample story

Jack moved to a remote part of the Scottish countryside and wanted to get an internet connection in his new house there. After several companies had told him their networks didn't cover his area, he finally found out who the universal service provider was in Scotland. He contacted this company, which provided him with an internet connection.

Special support for disabled users

If you are a user with disabilities, you are entitled to a choice of available providers and services equivalent to that enjoyed by most consumers.

You may also be eligible for special accessibility devices provided by your service provider - such as magnification software or a screen reader, if you are visually impaired.

Your national regulatory authorities might be able to provide you with more details as regards these accessibility rights.

Sample story

Véronique, from France, is partially sighted and needs special assistance to read websites.

On a tip from a friend, she contacted the French universal service provider to enquire about getting a screen reader. The provider delivered the software Véronique needed.

Data protection and security

Your personal data must be adequately protected.

You are entitled to:

  • be informed if any person or company is holding your personal data in their files (websites, databases, service providers, etc.)
  • correct or delete your data if it is incomplete or inaccurate
  • be fully informed and give your agreement if a website wishes to store and retrieve information from your computer or to track you when you're online
  • confidential online communication (e.g. e‑mails)
  • be notified if your personal data held by a service provider has been lost, stolen or otherwise disclosed, and your privacy is likely to be adversely affected
  • not be sent unsolicited advertising (spam).

To find out exactly how your data is protected, check with your national data protection authority.

Sample story

Maria from Spain spends a lot of time chatting with friends on the internet. But after seeing some stories in the news, she began to get a bit worried her service provider could be tracking her messages.

A quick check on the website of the Spanish data protection authority reassured Maria about her right to confidentiality while online, what her service provider could or could not do with her personal data, and related practical issues such as the use of cookies.

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