What to know about the big new EU laws governing big tech

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The European Parliament’s final approval of tough and sweeping tech regulations put European regulators and tech platform giants on a slow but inevitable collision course on Tuesday.

Drive the news: The two new European laws – the Digital Markets Act (DMA) and the Digital Services Act (DSA) – place strict constraints on how big tech flagships like Apple, Amazon, Alphabet and Meta manage competition and online content.

why is it important: Efforts by the United States to pass similar laws have so far failed to gain traction. That leaves EU rules as the most significant efforts yet to rein in corporate power, which critics say has grown at the expense of smaller rivals, user freedom and privacy, and privacy. reliability of online information.

Details: The DMA sets out obligations and penalties for “gatekeepers” of digital services that violate the law’s rules for promoting competition, as Axios has previously reported.

  • The law states that these companies must obtain “explicit consent” to target ads based on personal data.
  • This requires interoperability between messaging platforms like Apple’s iMessage and Meta’s WhatsApp.
  • It requires major platforms to allow users to select a browser, search engine, and personal voice assistant of their choice.

DEA makes big platforms more responsible for monitoring and removing illegal content, with fines if they don’t comply.

  • It generally states that anything considered illegal speech in Europe must also be considered illegal speech online.

Here are some of the likely impacts of the laws about users:

  • Apple will have to allow iPhone users in the EU to make purchases outside of its official App Store through third-party app stores.
  • Tech giants will not be allowed to give preferential treatment to their own products, apps or services within the EU.
  • Companies will need to obtain consumer consent before moving EU citizens’ personal data.
  • Thanks to the DSA, companies will have more obligations to remove and report illegal content in the EU.

Punishments : Companies face fines of up to 10% of annual worldwide revenue for DMA violations and 6% for DSA violations.

  • “In the event of serious and repeated infringements, national courts may go so far as to prohibit them from operating on European territory”, Thierry Breton, European Commissioner for the Internal Market, wrote.

What they say : “With size comes responsibility – as a big platform there are things you have to do and things you can’t do,” said EU Executive Vice President Margrethe Vestager, in a statement.

  • “We are turning the page on ‘too big to care’ platforms,writes Breton. “The same predictable rules will apply, across the EU, for our 450 million citizens, providing everyone with a safer and fairer digital space.”

Tech companies have lobbied against both laws, in particular on the provisions relating to tracking-based advertising.

  • Apple said the EU’s requirement to allow “sideloading” – the ability to download and use apps from sources other than its own App Store – would have devastating consequences for user security. .

Yes, but: Experts expect the implementation and enforcement of these laws to take longer and require more staff resources and money from the EU, and critics of the laws say the European leaders will not meet their needs.

  • In a blog post, Breton detailed the enforcement, saying European Commission teams would “supervise” major platforms, and that platforms covered by the new laws must have a “legal representative” in Europe to call in case. compliance issue. The largest platforms will pay a fee “to cover the additional costs necessary for their supervision”.
  • European officials will also set up a “European Center for Algorithmic Transparency” to help enforce the DSA.

What to watch: Tech companies will likely try to follow the new laws to the letter with minimal changes to their products and practices.

  • One strategy: they could offer DSA and DMA compliant versions of their platforms in Europe, and keep their offerings the same elsewhere.

And after: The Council of the European Union will adopt the laws, a formality expected in the autumn, and from there, their provisions will come into force on a timetable that extends until 2024.

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