Home Music intervention Fighting in Brussels muddies Big Tech regulatory plans

Fighting in Brussels muddies Big Tech regulatory plans


A frank intervention in the European Parliament last month sparked frustration that was slowing the EU’s attempts to limit the power of big techs.

Last year the EU Radical plan Due to technical regulations which oblige Google, Facebook, Amazon, etc. to take on the heavy responsibility of cleaning up the platform and ensuring fair competition.

However, since then a series of measures have stalled in the European Parliament and now risk running out of water and delaying considerably.

In Brussels, there are even fears that the new rules will come into force before the resignation of Marguerite Vestager, head of competition and EU digital policy, three years later.

“It looked like we agreed, but it’s not… at all. German MEP Evelyne Gebhardt expressed resentment during a debate last month.

Slow progress allows Big Tech to spend more time getting a complete picture of major sectors of the economy. “If you wait too long, some markets won’t be able to repair. It is about protecting European consumers and small businesses. We need to get there as quickly as possible, ”he said.

The two proposed bills are the Digital Markets Act (DMA) and the Digital Services Act (DMA), which aim to force so-called gatekeepers like Google to ensure fair competition on a vast online platform. DSA). Clarify Big Tech’s responsibility to keep illegal content away from the service.

However, the package divides the MEP on several sides.

The biggest dispute is which companies should be regulated. Andreas Schwab, the main MEP representing a strong EPP group in Congress, has promoted legislation that focuses only on the largest platforms. But its rivals want to broaden the scope of the law and cover many digital services.

“If the threshold is too low, a lot of traditional businesses will also be captured. However, the law does not target the general economy, in particular the digital guardians who shut down the market. Schwab told the Financial Times.

In his proposal, only companies with a market value of over 80 billion euros fall under the new law. Schwab also wants to target only the core digital services of each business, for example, by targeting only Google’s search and advertising activities.

However, the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democracy (S&D), the second largest political party in the European Parliament, wants to include other types of digital services such as video streaming, music streaming, mobile payments and cloud services.

“Tracking five companies does not solve the problem,” said Paul Tang, a Dutch MEP, who needed to regulate companies worth more than 50 billion euros. This is the threshold that the Netherlands-based Booking.com can also reach. German SAP and Airbnb.

“I’m worried that a new Guardian will be launched soon when I do business with Google and other companies. I need a law to prove it in the future, ”he said. “We have been waiting for over 20 years to reform Internet rules, so we need to make the Internet strong enough for the next 20 years. “

He also believes that the law should follow a platform that offers multiple services, because “Big Tech knows how to get around the law with an army of expensive lawyers, who miss the opportunity.” Noted.

Schwab, who is quite opposed to Google’s business model, said too much focus would reduce the EU’s ability to tackle bigger issues. “We want to cover everything and we risk having a law that leads to nothing. If that happens, it will be a big win for Google and other big tech companies, ”he said.

The impasse is not easy to resolve. “Everyone is in a difficult position and everyone is ready to compromise,” said the person involved in the debate.

Those who hope that a solution emerges before EU member states, the European Commission and Parliament meet for talks early next year and France, the EU presidency in 2022, heading towards the April presidential election. There is also. Last week’s all-party meeting aimed to fill in some gaps.

Apart from that, the MEP also challenges the obligation to submit large platforms. In line with the Commission’s suggestion, Schwab wants users to agree on the possibility of combining data between services, for example between Google’s Gmail and YouTube. The Socialists want to ban this practice.

S&D is also pushing for new rules that force Big Tech to prove that small business acquisitions don’t hurt the market or prevent the purchase of smaller competitors. This is a measure that Schwab considers too extreme. We also want to ban the controversial practice of targeting users with advertising, but Schwab opposes it.

Meanwhile, EU member states are also competing to influence the outcome of the process. France wants Individual states have more power to impose fines on big tech companies if they don’t clean up their platforms. Ireland and Luxembourg, where some of the big tech companies are based, like the status quo.

Under current rules, only countries with the headquarters of large tech groups have the power to impose heavy fines and force the platform to remove illegal content.

“This is the main DSA battle that risks derailing the DSA,” said one with negotiating skills.

Daily Bulletin

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Fighting in Brussels muddies Big Tech regulatory plans Fighting in Brussels muddies Big Tech regulatory plans