Nowadays, the internet is embedded in almost every aspect of daily and business life. People use Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) to network, to communicate, to establish business partnerships, to trade, to buy/sell products and services, a.o. Furthermore, the companies use the internet as a medium to advertise their products and services, approach potential new clients and establish trust with current clients and business partners.
According to Eurostat data, in 2016, the percentage of internet use per individual in the EU was 82%1 and the percentage of individuals using the internet for ordering products or services was 55%2. In addition to this, many agreements and business contracts are drafted and executed online. Therefore, there is no doubt that internet became an important component of commercial and business operations.
The electronic commerce (e-commerce) is a relatively new area of law correlated with the ongoing technological progress and the development of ICTs. E-commerce refers to trading goods and services using a combination of Internet technology, mobile commerce, online transfers, online marketing, data collection systems, and many other innovative business systems.
The Regulatory Framework in Cyprus:
The Electronic Commerce Law (156(I)/2004)
E-commerce in Cyprus is regulated by the 'Law on Certain Legal Aspects of Information Society Services in Particular Electronic Commerce and Associated Matters of 2004' ('The Electronic Commerce Law'). The Law entered into force on the 30th of April 2004 for the purpose of the implementation of Directive 2000/31/EC of the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union of the 8th of June 2000 on certain legal aspects of information society services, in particular electronic commerce in Internal Market3.
The Law 156(I)/2004 aims at ensuring the free movement of information society services between the Republic of Cyprus and the EU/EEA Member States regarding the establishment of service providers, commercial communications, the conclusion of electronic contracts, the liability of intermediaries, out-of-court dispute settlements, codes of conduct, means of legal protection and the cooperation between Member States4.
Additionally, the law regulates the following online activities:
- Online information services;
- Online advertising and marketing;
- Online selling of products and services;
- Online entertainment services;
Law on Electronic Money (81(I)/2012):
The Law on Electronic Money regulates5:
- the issuance of electronic money in the Republic of Cyprus;
- the issuance of electronic money in another EU/EEA Member State or in a third country by a natural person residing in the Republic of Cyprus or by a legal person incorporated in the Republic of Cyprus.
- the authorisation and prudential supervision of electronic money institutions.
Personal Data Protection:
Personal data protection is among the main concerns of consumers and business people. The Processing of Personal Data (Protection of the Individual) Law of 2001 (138 (I) 2001) regulates the collection, storage and use of personal data. For more information about this topic read the article Personal Data Protection in Cyprus or contact one of our lawyers.
1. Eurostat,http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/tgm/table.do?tab=table&init=1&plugin=1&pcode=tin00028&language=en, Accessed on 30 January 2017
2. Eurostat,http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/tgm/table.do?tab=table&init=1&language=en&pcode=tin00096&plugin=1,%20Accessed%20on%2031%20January%202017, Accessed on 30 January 2017
3. eGovernment in Cyprus, European Commission, European Union, February 2016, https://goo.gl/KzpkTr , Accessed on 30 January 2017
4. The Ecommerce Law, http://www.cylaw.org/nomoi/enop/non-ind/2004_1_156/full.html , Accessed on 30 January 2017
5. Law on Electronic Money 81(I)/2012: http://www.cylaw.org/nomoi/enop/non-ind/2012_1_81/full.html, Accessed on 30 January 2017
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.