Brussels promises to ‘place order into chaos’ of the digital world with new tech laws

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Brussels vowed on Tuesday to “put order into chaos” as it revealed plans to limit the power Big Tech companies have in the sector.

The European Commission’s landmark laws, the Digital Markets Act (DMA) and the Digital Services Act (DSA), aim to curb the power of dominant multinationals and force them to be more open about how content is ranked, sold and removed.

It would also give tech firms with a set of harmonised EU-wide rules to follow and would strengthen the bloc’s drive to become the global leader for digital regulation.

“The two proposals work one goal: to make sure that we, as users, have access to a wide choice of safe results and services online,” Executive Vice-President for a Europe fit for the Digital Age- Margrethe Vestager said in a declaration.

“And that businesses conducting in Europe can freely and fairly compete online just as they do offline. This is one world. We should be able to do our shopping safely and trust the news we read. Because what is illegal offline is equally illegal online,” she added.

The Digital Market Act wants to force large companies to allow alternative players to emerge and prevent abuse of their dominant positions. To do that it wants to prohibit “several practices” which it says are “clearly unfair” such as blocking users from uninstalling any pre-installed software or apps.

Gatekeepers — large gatherings that have an entrenched position in the market — would also be expected to “proactively” put in place certain measures, including allowing the software of third companies to properly function and interoperate with their own services.

Vestager added that gatekeepers will “no longer use the data they collect from businesses they host when competing against them” and that they will be prohibited from ranking their own services higher than those of competitors.

Companies could be fined up to 10 per cent of their turnover for serious continued competition infringement. If they’re determined guilty of flouting the rules on multiple opportunities, the Commission wants to give itself the power to impose “structural treatments,” Vestager said.