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EU Digital Services and Digital Markets Acts unveiled today

by Mark Tyson on 15 December 2020, 10:11

Tags: European Commission, Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), eBay, Facebook, Google (NASDAQ:GOOG)

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The European Union will today be unveiling two new acts to overhaul the digital market. Current rules are based upon year 2000 legislation and obviously digital businesses, products and services have evolved considerably over the last 20 years. The two Acts will be called the Digital Services and Digital Markets Acts.

The new rules are being heralded as a force for good by commissioners Margrethe Vestager (Competition Commissioner) and Thierry Breton (Internal Market Commissioner), who are well known for strong rhetoric against the shady practices of the big tech giants.

At the time of writing the acts are yet to be published by the EU but the commissioners hinted at the proposals you will find within in an opinion piece in the Irish Times on Sunday. Central to the new acts will be the assertion that "the business and political interests of a handful of companies should not dictate our future." The commissioners referred to the EU digital market as "the most coveted single market in the world" and stressed the need to update the EU's toolbox to make sure its rules and principles are respected online, as well as offline.

What might the above mean in practice? It probably means dominant tech firms like Google and Facebook will face greater restrictions in business decisions which could stifle competition. Such firms are labelled as 'gatekeepers' by the commissioners as they appear to be able to not just set their own rules but those of the competition due to their power.

Other digital businesses which may feel the heat of new rules and restrictions could be the likes of Amazon and eBay. These and similar companies appear to have created a disparity between online and offline consumer protection. They are often used by scammers and fraudsters to advertise fake or potentially harmful goods, or for price gouging. This has been all the more evident during the pandemic with various shortages. The digital giants claim to be nothing more than an intermediary in some cases, shunning responsibility for actions on their platforms but make very healthy profits.

It is possible that some of the new rules that champion the EU-based consumer's rights will have sub-optimal unintended consequences, notes a BBC report. However, the new acts are written to be beneficial to the majority of EU citizens and it is hard to complain about that.

Sources: BBC, Euractiv.



HEXUS Forums :: 48 Comments

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Looks good, lets hope the UK government comes up with something similar.
spacein_vader
Looks good, lets hope the UK government comes up with something similar.

No chance of that. Ability to abuse the citizen is one of the reasons we vote to leave the EU.
GrahamC
spacein_vader
Looks good, lets hope the UK government comes up with something similar.

No chance of that. Ability to abuse the citizen is one of the reasons we vote to leave the EU.

It's ironic isn't it? Sold to the proles as ‘getting our freedom back’ they voted like turkeys for christmas. They'll probably still find a way to blame Jeremy Corbyn for it though!?
EU talking about shady practices of others. Maybe they should get their own house in order - honour referenda, conduct elections as required in their laws (instead of back-room coronations), let he citizens choose their leaders and representatives. And on and on.
They might also want to ask why no digital leaders exist in the EU. This is just more of the same from the EU - protectionism and tariffs by another name that will end up costing the citizens of the EU whilst providing no jobs, no alternative. Still no answer as to why these organisations have not come from here.
15 years ago europe an an unbreakable lead in mobile phone platforms and technology - that was gone in bately 5 years, replaced by 2 american companies with zero background in that industry.
Cars are likely next.
The entire reason for this it to create revenue (fines) to fund the EU, not to beneifit the plebs subject to their rules.
gagaga
EU talking about shady practices of others. Maybe they should get their own house in order - honour referenda, conduct elections as required in their laws (instead of back-room coronations), let he citizens choose their leaders and representatives. And on and on.
They might also want to ask why no digital leaders exist in the EU. This is just more of the same from the EU - protectionism and tariffs by another name that will end up costing the citizens of the EU whilst providing no jobs, no alternative. Still no answer as to why these organisations have not come from here.
15 years ago europe an an unbreakable lead in mobile phone platforms and technology - that was gone in bately 5 years, replaced by 2 american companies with zero background in that industry.
Cars are likely next.
The entire reason for this it to create revenue (fines) to fund the EU, not to beneifit the plebs subject to their rules.

I'm not sure your anti-EU rant has any substantiation in reality. It's the usual hyperbole trotted out by Faragists but often without credible basis. Could you give an example of where the EU has not honoured a referendum? Or where the EU has prevented people electing their own representative?

Also we do get to vote for our MEPS. It might not get the airtime it should, and a lot of people blindly ignore it, but we DO get to vote for it (or at least we did).

As for phone tech, Nokia's demise was not the EU's fault, it was the fault of their woeful CEO killing off their own smartphone development and selling them out to Microsoft - some would allege for personal gain. Fast forward a few years and MS stops making software for smartphones altogether. Just one of those US big tech companies I guess this bill has in mind.

As for whether laws benefit the citizens: I can think of several good ones: paternity leave, enhanced maternity rights, food standards, car safety and pedestrian impact safety, construction product certification to ensure fitness for use, air pollution targets, GDPR, limiting use of carginogenic pesticides, I could keep going. The only one I can personally think of that annoyed me has been limiting the size of hoover motors. Pointless and bad science that one but if that's the trade-off then so be it. Can you show me an EU law designed to subjugate the people that we should be seeking to repeal?