Confederation of European Computer User Associations

Confédération Européenne des Associations d'Utilisateurs des Technologies de I'Information

CECUA White Paper


the one and only totally independent European Umbrella Association of 12 national EU and EAA Computer User Organisations. CECUA has access to a large user and citizens base, including professionals and academicians. CECUA has good contacts to and co-operation with the Commission, the European Parliament and the Committee of the Regions to voice User/Citizens needs and demands on European and Global Information Society issues.

CECUA gives guidance and support to Computer Users through the 12 national organisations since more than 20 years and voices their needs and demands sucessfully at Ngo's, Governments and Industry.

CECUA is taking care of the needs of Users/Citizens of IT- ware by watching the marketing, keeping contact to the Industry, participating in global standardizing and introducing aid and assistance by developing guidelines like a „Model Contract" for purchasing IT - ware as a standard help for users/citizens and used in several countries in Europe and also on demand from other countries on other continents.

CECUA is the Spearhead for the Basic Rights for CITIZENS of the European and Global Information Society. In close co-operation with the Commission and the offices concerned an international well received Conference on the „Citizens in the Global Information Society" raised expectations, concerns and opportunities for Citizens of this Information Society. CECUA focusing on the results of the conference introduces a Draft „Bill of Rights" (BoR) for the Citizens of the Information Society and put it up for comments and discussion on the CECUA webportal:

The "Bill of Rights" for Citizens of the Information Society is a draft contract between the Citizens and the State outlining elementary rights for citizens which the state has to accept and enforce. The BoR also acts as a guideline for the industry and defines the relationship between users/citizens.

CECUA has received generous recognition for the BoR both from Industry Commission, Committee of the Regions, European Parliament and the public and also for opening up the CECUA webportal for participation by anybody who wishes to make comments or offer suggestions. To enrich the user experience CECUA also regularily publishes NewsFlashes on hot user/citizens issues putting the BoR into practical perspective. In the mean time the BoR is used as a Standard Reference Plattform or a „Ruler" to evaluate Directives to what extent Citizen Rights have been taken into consideration.

· Partnerships with large number of publicly recognised organisations, e.g. CEPIS (Council of European Professional Informatics Societies), EFJ (European Federation of Journalists), EIUF (European ISDN Users Forum), EPA (European Parents' Association), Euro Chambres, MIDEPH (Mouvement pour l'Information, les Droits et l'Expression de la Personne Humaine) and YES (Young Entrepreneurs of Europe).

· Distribution Channels Web Portal (, powerful database with thousands of names and local member and partner organisations. Regular web publication of News-Flashes on Citizens issues.

· 20 years of experience representing users and user issues at Gos and NGOs.

· 20 years of experience working with the European Commission.

· Proven performance record in organising ad hoc working groups for the Commission on relevant subjects and issues, e.g. Open Systems and User Requirements.

· Proven performance record in organising international conferences, e.g. The Citizen and the Global Information Society in Brussels in 1998 and sponsored by the Commission.

· Contacts and co-operation with European Parliament and Committee of the Regions, all parties working on citizen/user issues, e.g. EP Internet Foundation, but in need of access to citizens base.

· Active participation and contribution to the work of the Information Society Forum through the CECUA representative.

· Participation in the European Platform for ICANN (EPOP).

Present activity includes the following:

· Collecting and evaluating relevant information on citizen/user issues globally.

· Liaison with European Parliament and Committee of the Regions on Citizen's issues.

· Advising the Commission on Citizen's issues and how to support the uptake of the Information Society by the Citizens and to bridge the digital divide. CECUA has already contacts to several developing countries.

For further information please contact

Dr. Jon Thorhallsson Stuart Goold
CECUA President CECUA Secretary General stuart.
Tel: +354 585 2006 Tel: +44 115 877 3144


Bill of Right
Standard Reference Platform

CECUA has undertaken as a research project to evaluate a Draft Directive presently seeking opinion using the Bill of Rights as a reference platform or "Ruler".

The methodology used for this research project was to go through the Draft Directive and mark every and all Citizen and User related issues, both the issues themselves and also how the issues were addressed in the Draft Directive, and compose a list for further evaluation.

Then the list of issues was compared, issue by issue, both the issue itself and how it was addressed in the Draft Directive against the CECUA Bill of Rights. How did the Bill of Rights address those same issues? Were any issues missing on the list, issues addressed in the Bill of Rights? Were any issues on the list but not addressed in the Bill of Rights?

The result of the research project was that some Bill of Rights issues were addressed in the Draft Directive, but also many were addressed inadequately or not at all. Many citizen/user issues addressed in the Bill of Rights were missing from the Draft Directive.

Bill of Rights is a very valuable instrument when used as a reference model or "Ruler" to measure to what extent Directives take user/citizens rights into consideration and also how it is done.

The Bill of Rights is an excellent measurement tool when used to evaluate a directive or any other legal document to determine if it adequately addresses user/citizens issues and rights or not! Using this methodology to measure the particular Draft Directive revealed that several important user/citizens issues are left out un-addressed, partly or completely.

Based on this experience CECUA recommends that the Bill of Rights will be adopted as a standard reference platform or "Ruler" to measure all Directives and other pieces of legislation. The users and the citizens will immediately feel the benefits. But not only the users and citizens. The industry will also benefit.

Using the Bill of Rights as a standard "Ruler" will make sure that all directives comply with and support basic User and Citizens rights. Also the industry benefits! This approach defines the baseline for competition in the industry. All industry players have to offer products and services that are above this industry baseline as defined by the Bill of Rights. Once they have done that they can start to compete and differentiate among themselves in the marketplace by adding values to the baseline already established by the Bill of Rights.

The Research Report is available upon request from CECUA at

Bill of Rights for Citizens in the Global Information Society

CECUA and its partners recognise from the conclusions of the 1998 Brussels conference "Citizens in the Global Information Society" that Europeans are failing to take advantage of the considerable benefits that are available from the Global Information Society because of considerable doubts and fears arising from the "Information Age"(GIS).

In particular, the GIS is seen as benefiting large organisations and governments and is failing to recognise and protect the interests of citizens.

To address these fears, CECUA and its Partners have proposed a draft set of basic rights in order to make policy makers and politicians aware of the issues so that they can address these fears and concerns.

The proposed Draft Bill of Rights consists of nine articles:

Article 1 - DIGNITY: The Citizen of the Global Information Society will take care of and guard this as a basic right of this Society. (Personal Privacy and Copyright are protected by separate legislation).

Article 2 - FREEDOM of PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT: The Citizen has the right to develop his own talents so long as he is not violating the basic rights of fellow citizens and is not violating the basic rights of his government or the laws of morality.

Art. 3 - FREEDOM of COMMUNICATION: Freedom of speech and self-expression, freedom of universal access and distribution of information and the right of knowledge to conduct this are fundamental rights to the Citizen of the Global Information Society.

Art. 4 - CULTURAL PRESERVATION: The Citizen shall have the right to communicate in his native tongue, and to work and conduct official business in an Official language of the sovereign state of his residence.

Art. 5 - RIGHT OF ACCESS: The Citizen shall have the right of access to public information in a timely manner and shall not be excluded by lack of access for geographical or affordability reasons, lack of usability or lack of functionality.

Art. 6 - RIGHT for RELIABLE and FUNCTIONING SERVICES: The Citizen shall have the right to access services and facilities, which have a stable user interface requiring basic skills that the facilities are secure, and with that data and information which is accurate and timely.

Art. 7 - NETIQUETTE: The Citizen, Government and all other organizations have the responsibility to abide by and act in accordance with the rules of the Netiquette

Art. 8 - RIGHT for ACCURATE and UNDERSTANDABLE CHARGING: The Citizen shall have the right to accurate, understandable and timely billing for Internet services and facilities.

Art. 9 - RIGHT FOR REDRESS: The Citizen shall have access to protection and redress for acts of fraud, corruption of personal data, loss of privacy, and consequential costs arising from errors, bugs or failures of Internet services and facilities.

For further information visit