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Digital economy workshop confirms the importance of consumer awareness in view of the increasing impact of the technology sector


On Monday, February 7th, 2017, Consumer International (“CI”) regional office in the Middle East organized a workshop on the “Consumer Rights in the Digital Economy”, under the auspice of H. E. Sheikh Sa'ad bin Mohammed bin Said al Mardhouf al Sa'adi, Minister of Sport Affairs, and was attended by PACP Chairman, and Mr. Bart Combée, President Consumer International (“CI”), and a large number of Information and Communication Technology (“ICT”) and consumer protection experts.


Following the event, H. E. Dr. Said Bin Khamis Al-Kaabi, Chairman of the Public Authority for Consumer Protection (“PACP”) said the “the workshop aimed to focus on several aspects relating to the consumer’s rights in the digital economy, considering its fast and continuous growth, becoming a main pillar in many developed countries, in addition to its wide entry into the Arabic communities, making it accessible to all.” He indicated that the information economy boom is a challenge requiring increasing consumer awareness.
“It is necessary to shed the light on the digital economy and related consumer rights, in addition to the consumer duties while shopping via various media. The result of the workshop can be seen by the attendance of a number of experts from various countries, and from various Omani sectors, to benefit from this modern international experience.” He added.
From his side, Mr. Bart Combée CI President, praised the efforts of PACP and its cooperation with CI regional office in the Middle East, and highlighted the joint efforts and its tangible impact on the market, that complement CI role amongst the countries. He stressed that the workshop aimed to enable international cooperation and coordination between CI branches at global level in order to practice locally in Oman, to get closer to the consumers, and to crate active partnership to effectively contribute in achieving CI objectives in more than 200 countries. The workshop also aimed at enabling the unit to protect the consumer rights, discuss the impact of globalization on the world and its advantages and disadvantages, thus making it necessary to hold such workshops and conferences to discuss such impact, and to create solutions to limit its disadvantages and overcome the resulting challenges across the world, along with promoting international standards in health, social responsibility, e-marketing and the enhance its role in protecting and educating the consumers of the advantages and disadvantages of the digital economy.
“The digital challenges are many, and it is difficult to control it without joint cooperation between CI and PACP.” He added, while stressing that the emergence of several cases relating to communications, business transactions, e-shopping and e-payment indicates the necessity of having laws to regulate such practices, and limit the potential challenges, which cannot be achieved without sharing and exchanging opinions and ideas between Oman and various countries to reach solutions favoring the consumers.
Dr. Pierre Khouri, ICY and consumer protection expert, says that “the consumer has traditional rights stipulated in legal frames, and such frames were created prior to the digital economy, and with the development of the internet and digital economy there is a need to update such frames with new legal rights that consider the digital economy boom. This workshop reiterates the existing legal, economic and social complications, and aims to highlight the need for new legal frameworks consistent with the digital economy, and applied in the world of the internet, considering that the technology development is accelerating, while the legislative development in Oman to stipulate laws and regulations is lagging, which creates certain challenges.”
The workshop theme came consistent with the World Consumer Day 2017, and included a presentation, over two sessions, by Dr. Pierre Khouri, legal expert in ICT and consumer protection, and a third session by Mr. Justin Macmullan, head of CI in the Middle East. Both presentations discussed several topics including introduction of traditional and contemporary consumer in the digital economy, the impact of the digital economy, the rights in the digital economy and its expansion to cover the web2.0, protect the consumer relation with the digital trader and relation with other online consumers and protect personal information and respect privacy, in addition to consumer protection from misleading advertisement, unfit products, digital products, protection of digital payment media and consumer using smart phone.
CI office in the Middle East is located in Muscat, and has organized this workshop to ensure consumer awareness of his rights in the digital and information economy, considering the fast developments and increasing impact and complication of the IT sector, and the material changes it made in the economy structure, in addition to highlighting major challenges and obstacles facing the consumer in the digital economy. Consumers International (CI) is the world federation of consumer groups that, established in 1960 and working together with its Members as the only independent and authoritative global voice for consumers.


 No one imagined that greed and deviousness would reach such a staggering level that thought exist only in movies and investigative drama shows , yet it became a stark reality when some merchants sought to make a profit on the account of health and safety of the young and adults alike utilizing the God-given intellect that they posses into destruction and evil instead of serving public good , the devious plan used ( Back to school ) season by carving holes inside books and hiding chewing tobacco inside in away from the inspectors notice targeting the younger generation with these destructive materials that effect the health , mind and safety of our kids .
 The Judicial officers noticed that consumers come very frequently to a specific shop during one of the inspection tours which raised their suspicions to strengthening the monitoring and follow up on that matter , students were spotted in the shop as well , the Officers expediently intervened to inspect the shop , the inspection did not reveal anything at first , however , the officers noticed a stack of books and decided to inspect it , surprisingly , they found more than 600 pouches of chewing tobacco on its way to be sold and distributed on consumers and students , the officers immediately issued a violation and referred the case to the General Prosecution to deal with the matter as per the Law

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Sultanate of Oman