Already facing a number of investigations and fines under existing General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) rules, big tech companies are feeling even more pressure in Europe with the proposed two new antitrust policies. Together, the “Digital Markets Law” and the “Digital Services Law” would limit the use of personal data and force social media platforms to better control user-created content.
The two policy proposals are currently in an initial draft, probably subjected to a lot of debate and tinkering before going to the European Parliament and the Council of the EU for a vote. Big Tech is reacting so far with caution and with signals of cooperation, but will no doubt push to weaken or eliminate what would be by far the world’s strongest attempt to limit their size and power.
The law on digital markets and digital services aims at consumer safety and competition in the market
The digital services law and its accompanying bill would collectively give regulators the ability to increase fines imposed on large tech companies and introduce the prospect of forcing them to either separate or be banned entirely from the EU s ‘they commit repeated offenses.
The Digital Services Act covers user content hosted on Big Tech’s various platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter. Companies of this size should be much more active in monitoring their own territories against illegal content: the sale of illegal goods and services, human trafficking, terrorism, child abuse and the like. The Digital Markets Act deals with the growing concentration of power for social media and e-commerce in the hands of a few big players online. These Big Tech heavyweights are referred to as “gatekeepers” by law and would be subject to a new set of rules aimed at preventing anti-competitive behavior, such as being restricted in their use of business user information to develop and deploy competing services.
In general, the terms of the Digital Services Act apply to any business that hosts content online as well as to intermediaries that provide network infrastructure (such as ISPs). However, it creates a tiered set of rules that adapts to the size of the business in question. All services in this area would have new transparency reporting requirements and obligations by cooperating with national authorities, with hosting services having an additional obligation to provide certain notices and informative statements to users. From there, the rules depend on the specific size and classification of the business. Those designated as ‘online platforms’, such as social media and e-commerce sites of a certain size and reach, have added requirements for things such as reporting illegal content, verifying third-party partners. and transparency on the online advertising methods used. A special category of “very large platforms” faces even more responsibilities in terms of data sharing obligations, appointment of compliance officers, crisis response and auditing.
The terms of the digital marketplace law also apply to businesses that are large enough to be labeled with the designation “very large platforms”. This project is more specific as to who it will apply to: companies with a “strong economic position”, “a significant impact on the EU market”, “rooted and lasting”, and which connect a broad base from users spanning the EU to a large number of different companies. These platforms would be needed to increase third-party access to their services, open up a variety of relevant data to their business users, be more transparent to advertisers about how their systems work, and prevent business partners from limiting promotional activities. outside of their platform. . Gatekeeper-class companies would also not be allowed to prioritize their own products over third-party products on their own platforms, and those dealing with hardware would not be allowed to prevent users from removing apps. preinstalled.
These new rules provide for fines of up to 10% of the company’s total annual turnover worldwide, much more than the maximum fine of 4% under current GDPR conditions. Organizations could also face fines of up to 5% of average daily revenue. But these are not the ultimate penalties; the final measures for the most serious cases are “behavioral and structural”, ie the forced divestiture of assets or even the ban on practicing in the EU.
Big Tech should push back
An initial statement from the Computer and Communications Industry Association, which represents many of the biggest names in Big Tech, was neutral and signaled cooperation: “We look forward to working with EU policymakers to help ensure that The proposals meet the stated objectives so that Europeans continue to reap the full benefits of digital products and services… We hope that future negotiations will seek to make the EU a leader in digital innovation, and not just digital regulation. “
While Big Tech is cautious in its response to the Digital Services Act package in its early stages, industry analysts expect the resistance to become more pronounced as it gets closer to reality. There was more initial revulsion from the US Chamber of Commerce than from EU organizations, which complained that the proposed new regulations were “onerous” and would unfairly target the business models of the giants. technology based in America.
The #DigitalServices Act creates a multi-layered set of rules that adapt to the size of the business in question, with #BigTech having to bear most of the burden. #respectdata
While the Digital Services Act package may initially seem like a boon to consumers who promote safe products and services, the EFF has identified some points where this may not be entirely in the realm of it. public interest (and that big tech companies could use in their opposition). These points include a ban from competing national law for EU member states, weak terms requiring interoperability between competing products, and the inability to transfer data from one service to another without maintaining an active account. with the original service. Saryu Nayyar, CEO of Gurucul, added the following observation regarding a potential additional security burden on the end user created by the terms of the Digital Services Law package: “… There is always the very real possibility that applications not associated with the platform provider are less secure. It’s hard enough for tech giants to keep their heads above cybersecurity waters. Imagine how difficult it will be for little guys to ensure that their apps are 100% secure. “