KEEP ME POSTED: IT'S YOUR RIGHT TO CHOOSE

1 December 2020

Keep Me Posted EU is the European campaign that protects citizen's right to choose how they are contacted with important information - on paper or digitally. The campaign has grown in importance due to the pandemic.

There are many reasons someone might choose to receive paper bills, statements, tax documents, voting slips or other correspondence. Some prefer it for record keeping. Some do not have the necessary digital skills. Some may not be able to afford an electronic device or internet connection. Others may have a disability (or be a carer for a disabled person) preventing them from accessing digital communications. And it has been proven that we all concentrate better when reading on paper compared to a screen (even digital natives).

Keep Me Posted EU works to ensure that all citizens are given the choice to receive information through paper correspondence as a standard offer. With no extra, charge, no change in frequency, and no difficulty to revert back to paper. Citizens should also have to give their consent before paper documents are removed.

For most of us, this campaign is easy to support because the message is clear and sensible: everybody has the right to choose. All citizens should be included and empowered to access services they need. But in practice, consumers are pushed towards digital communications by companies all over Europe - often without even their consent.

Keep Me Posted EU, with the support of policymakers, NGOs, trade unions and industry, has communicated these messages to European institutions since 2014 with much success. But more needs to be done to ensure the right to choose is protected at European level.

Consumer Agenda

On 13 November, the European Commission published their New Consumer Agenda. The Communication recognises that "certain groups of consumers [...] need specific safeguards" and none should be treated differently due to their age, gender, health, digital literacy, numeracy or financial situation.

Keep Me Posted EU welcomes in particular the call "to ensure that clear, user-friendly and accessible information is available both online and offline in accordance with EU accessibility requirements for products and services" because "a fair and nondiscriminatory approach to the digital transformation should cater to the needs of older consumers, consumers with disabilities and more generally ‘off-liners’".

Rights of older people

Data regularly shows that older people disproportionately use the internet less and have poorer digital skills than younger persons. This puts them more at risk of social exclusion or dependency amid intensifying digitisation.

Last month, the Council of the European Union adopted conclusions on the human rights, participation and well-being of older persons in the era of digitalisation. They call on the European Commission and Member States to:

  • “Ensure through alternative means that those who cannot fully use digital technologies can enjoy the same rights as other groups of the population”
  • “Shape digitalisation [...] in such a way that these services are easily accessible, user friendly, and as barrier-free as possible, while ensuring that non-digital services are maintained”

Publication of the European Commission’s Green Paper on Ageing is expected in early 2021. Keep Me Posted EU urges the Commission to recognise older people’s right to choose between digital and physical communications.

For more contact Alison Grace.

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