EU: Stricter laws for Google, Apple and Co.

The EU passes two new laws that are mainly aimed at large tech companies and are intended to ensure fairer competition and more consumer protection.

The European Parliament has passed two new laws designed to impose stricter rules on companies like Facebook, Google, Amazon and Apple, according to the accompanying press release.

The online platforms of the large tech companies are to be subject to stricter supervision. The Digital Service Act (DSA) is intended to minimize content such as hate speech or illegal content, and the Digital Markets Act (DMA) is intended to eliminate the market power of the Internet giants, ensure fair competition and give consumers more freedom in choosing online offers.

Action must be taken against illegal content

The DSA, for example, now clearly obliges the providers of digital services such as social media or marketplaces to take action against the distribution of illegal content. And it is precisely the largest companies that are held accountable, writes the EU Parliament:

“Very large online platforms and search engines, which are used by more than 45 million people a month and pose the greatest threat, will now have to comply with stricter regulations enforced by the Commission. They must contain systemic risks. This includes proliferation illegal content and adverse impacts on fundamental rights, electoral processes, gender-based violence or mental health. They must also be independently verified. Platforms must also ensure that users can opt out of recommendations based on profiling. They must also grant authorities and authorized researchers access to their data and algorithms.”

No more exploiting market power

The DMA wants to put a stop to gatekeepers. Companies that are classified as such must ensure in the future that “their services are compatible with those of third parties” and grant business users access to their own data. Furthermore, own services or products on the own platform may not be rated better than those of third parties, users may not be prevented from easily uninstalling pre-installed software or apps and the use of personal data of users for targeted advertising is prohibited, unless this is correct expressly to.

Sanctions may follow

If companies violate the new rules, the Commission can in future impose fines of up to 10 percent of the total turnover achieved worldwide in the previous financial year. For repeated violations, penalties can be up to 20 percent of sales.

After the Council has adopted both laws, both should come into force quickly.

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