EU lawmakers agree on rules to target Big Tech

EU lawmakers have achieved a breakthrough on how to target technology companies, including Apple and Google, as part of Brussels’ moves to curb anticompetitive practices in the EU. digital economy.

According to four people with direct knowledge of the discussions, the European Parliament’s main political parties agreed on Wednesday to an agreement that would apply to companies with the least market capitalization. 80 billion euros and provides at least one internet service, such as online search.

That means the rules will attract more companies than previously thought to the EU’s planned Digital Markets Act (DMA), a wide-ranging attempt to rein in the tech industry. big. Brussels hopes to implement the law next year.

Companies including Google, Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft will be within its scope, along with Booking of the Netherlands and Alibaba of China.

The agreement reached by a group of MEPs on Wednesday paves the way for EU lawmakers to vote on the package next week. Their plans would then have to be agreed with EU member states before becoming law.

The act is intended to prohibit anti-competitive practices, such as taking advantage of a dominant position in a sector to sabotage a competitor’s services.

The proposed rules would also boost the power of national competition authorities to scrutinize tech firms’ acquisitions of smaller rivals, following concerns that they are being buy competitors cheaply to ‘kill’ competitors.

The Socialists & Democrats, the second largest political party in the European Parliament, have pushed for the rules to be made widely available so that more companies will be subject to the regulation.

The centre-right European People’s Party, whose members include German chancellor Angela Merkel and European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen, wants a more centralized regulation targeting only the biggest tech companies.

Andreas Schwab, EPP MEP leading negotiations on the DMA, said: “I am pleased that parliament is sending a unified message to the market that is ‘playing unfair business practices in the digital market. digital’.”

Legislators were also involved long term negotiation about whether to ban targeted advertising, which is a big source of revenue, especially for Google and Facebook.

As part of their compromise this week, MEPs agreed not to ban the activity but to impose strict restrictions, including child protection and tougher transparency requirements.

Lawmakers have yet to agree on their common stance on the Digital Services Act, another draft of legislation that aims to clarify how big tech should deal with illegal content or harmful online, could still be delayed until next year.

EU regulators hope to agree a common position by parliament, commission and member states early next year before France, which will hold the EU’s rotating presidency from January, begins in January. the beginning of the presidential election in April.

One person directly involved in the discussions said: “The political wind behind these new sets of rules. “The new rules aim to answer the fundamental question of how we think the modern Internet should be regulated.”

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