E.U. Takes Aim at Big Tech’s Power With Landmark Digital Act

G ગોttingen, Germany – The European Union was expected to finalize one of the world’s most far-reaching laws this week to address the power of the largest tech companies, laying down rules that would affect app stores, online advertising, e-commerce and messaging. Services and other everyday digital tools.

The law, known as the Digital Market Act, will be the broadest part of digital policy since the world’s toughest rules for securing people’s online data were enacted by BLOCK in 2018. The purpose of this legislation is to prevent the largest tech platforms from using their interlocking services and to create significant resources to box users and squash emerging competitors, creating space for new entrants and stimulating more competition.

This practically means that companies like Google will no longer be able to collect data from various services to offer targeted ads without the consent of the users and Apple will have to allow its App Store options on iPhones and iPads. Violators of the law, which will likely come into force early next year, could face significant fines.

The Digital Market Act is part of a one-two punch by European regulators. Early next month, the European Union is expected to reach an agreement on other legislation that would force social media companies such as Meta, Facebook and Instagram owners to police their platforms more aggressively.

With these actions, Europe is strengthening its leadership as the most resolute regulator of tech companies such as Apple, Google, Amazon, Meta and Microsoft. European standards are often adopted around the world, and the latest legislation raises the bar by potentially bringing companies under a new era of oversight – such as the healthcare, transportation and banking industries.

Thierry Breton, one of the European Commission’s top digital executives, said: “Large online platforms are facing behavior like they were ‘too big to care for’, Europe has put its foot down.” “We are ending the so-called ‘Wild West’ that dominates our information space. A new framework that could be a reference for democracy around the world. “

On Thursday, representatives of the European Parliament and the European Council were working behind closed doors in Brussels to reach a final deal. Their agreement will come after nearly 16 months of negotiations – a rapid pace for EU bureaucracy – and will set the stage for a final vote in parliament and between representatives of the 27 Union countries. The final approval is seen as a formality after the deal was struck this week.

Europe’s move is in stark contrast to the lack of activity in the United States. While Republicans and Democrats have held several high-profile congressional hearings in recent years to scrutinize Meta, Twitter, and others, and U.S. regulators have filed no-confidence lawsuits against Google and Meta, there are no new federal laws to address what many see as tech. Have not been passed. Unchecked power of companies.

Europe’s new rules could provide a preview of what is to come next in the world. The region’s 2018 Privacy Act, the General Data Protection Regulation, which prohibits the online collection and sharing of personal data, serves as a model for countries ranging from Japan to Brazil.

Obstacles to the Digital Market Act. Policymakers dealing with what the Watchdogs said was one of the most fierce lobbying efforts ever in Brussels as industry groups sought to water down the new law. They also put aside concerns raised by the Biden administration that the rules inappropriately target American companies.

Questions remain about how the new law will work in practice. Companies are expected to find ways to reduce the impact of the law through the courts. And regulators will need new funding to pay for their extended oversight responsibilities while budgets are under stress from the epidemic.

“The pressure to show results will be intense and fast,” said Thomas Vince, a veteran Brussels-based antitrust attorney representing Amazon, Microsoft and Spotify.

The Digital Markets Act is expected to apply to so-called gatekeeper platforms with a market value of 75 billion euros or about $ 82 billion, including Google’s owner Alphabet and YouTube, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft and Meta.

The specifics of the law are read as a wish list for the competitors of the largest companies.

Apple and Google, which make the operating system running on almost every smartphone, will need to loosen their grip. Apple will probably have to allow alternative app stores for the first time. The law expects companies like Spotify and Epic Games to be allowed to use Apple’s alternative payments in the App Store, which charges a 30 percent commission.

On Android devices, Google will have to give consumers the option to use other email and search services on handsets in Europe, which it is already doing in response to a previous EU no-confidence ruling. On Wednesday, Google announced that Spotify and some other app developers would be allowed to offer Google alternative payment methods in its App Store.

Amazon is expected to be prohibited from using data collected from outside vendors on its services so that it can offer competitive products, a practice that is subject to separate EU distrust investigations. Meta will also not be able to collect data about competitors to develop competitor services.

The law could result in major changes to the messaging app. WhatsApp, which is owned by Meta, may need to provide users of rival services like Signal or Telegram with a way to send and receive messages to someone using WhatsApp. Those competing services will have the option to make their products interoperable with WhatsApp.

The biggest sellers of online advertising, Meta and Google, will be limited to offering targeted ads without consent. Offering ads based on data collected from people moving between YouTube and Google search or between Instagram and Facebook is very profitable for both companies.

Policymakers were also considering including a provision in Europe that would allow publishers to negotiate new returns with Google and Meta for articles posted on their platforms. Due to a showdown on the issue in Australia, Facebook temporarily stopped allowing news organizations within the country to post articles.

Meta and Amazon declined to comment. Google, Apple and Microsoft did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Anu Bradford, a law professor at Columbia University who coined the term “Brussels Effect” about the impact of EU law, said European rules often become global norms because it is easier for companies to apply them to their entire organization rather than a geography.

“Everyone is watching the DMA, be it leading tech companies, their rivals or foreign governments,” she said. Bradford refers to the Digital Market Act. “It is likely that the US Congress will also now conclude that when the EU regulates US tech companies they are viewed from the sidelines and talking about legal reform will actually legislate.”

President Biden has appointed Leena Khan, a leading Amazon critic, and Jonathan Canter, a lawyer and critic of tech giants, to head the Federal Trade Commission.

But efforts to change American no-confidence laws have been slow. Congressional committees have approved bills that would prevent tech platforms from favoring their own products or buying smaller companies. It is unclear whether the move has enough support to pass the full House and Senate.

European regulators are now struggling to enforce the new law. The GDPR has been criticized for lack of implementation.

The European Commission, the bloc’s executive branch, will also have to hire many new staff to investigate tech companies. Years of litigation are expected as companies mount court challenges to future penalties issued as a result of the new law.

“The gatekeeper,” said Mr. Vince, Brussels’ no-confidence lawyer, said, “Absolutely not without defense.”

David McCabe Contributed to reporting from Washington.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.