European Union passes landmark laws to rein in big tech

Today, after months of negotiations and procedural hurdles, the European Union passed two landmark laws aimed at curbing the power of big tech. The Digital Markets Act and Digital Services Act are designed to promote fairer competition, improve privacy and ban both the use of some of the more egregious forms of targeted advertising and deceptive practices.

For example, the Digital Services Act focuses on online platforms such as Facebook, Amazon and Google. They are mandated to be more proactive in both moderating content and preventing the sale of illegal or unsafe goods on their platforms. Users can also learn how and why an algorithm recommended certain content to them, and challenge any moderation decision made by the algorithm. Eventually, companies will no longer be able to use sensitive personal information for ad targeting, sell ads to children, or use dark patterns – deceptive page design that can manipulate you into saying yes to something, even if you would rather say no. B. to join a service or prevent you from leaving a service that you no longer want to use.

These obligations apply on a sliding scale, imposing the largest obligations on the largest platforms. Platforms with 45 million or more monthly users are independently audited to ensure they prevent fake news and illegal content. These platforms must also make their algorithms and data available to (recognized) researchers so that they can study the impact and potential damage the systems can cause.

The Digital Markets Act, on the other hand, is more focused on preventing dominant platform owners like Google, Microsoft, and Apple from abusing their size. This includes offering better interoperability with smaller, competing services to ensure files can be sent between systems. There’s also a major spin-off for app storefronts, where developers are now authorized to notify their customers of offers without going through the platform owner in question. And platform owners will no longer be able to favor their systems, such as when Google promoted its own shopping service over that of its competitors.

The EU has given both bills a lot of bite and can impose a maximum fine of 10 percent of their total worldwide sales from the previous year if regulators find violations. But that number will rise to 20 percent of global sales if officials find “repeated violations.” That’s a staggering number, big enough that even Apple couldn’t sustain regular losses. Although, as with the GDPR regulation, the EU has yet to answer questions about how much effort, time and money it is willing to put behind a body to oversee big tech.

Now that they’re passed, the Digital Services Act will come into force by January 1, 2024 (unless some procedural things delay it), while the Digital Markets Act will come into force shortly after, and large platforms – who are referred to as “gatekeepers”. have another six months to get their homes in order before the new rules apply to them.

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https://www.engadget.com/european-union-digital-markets-services-acts-131818075.html?src=rss European Union passes landmark laws to rein in big tech

Russell Falcon

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