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The Internet has been revolutionized thanks to new regulations implemented in Europe. This law makes the process of establishing a successful technology company much more difficult. On November 1, the European Union Digital Markets Act entered into force and became fully operational.
What does this mean in practice?
It’s the first step in a process to get big tech companies like Amazon, Meta and Google to release more open and interoperable versions of their platforms by 2023.
It’s yet another reminder that Europe regulates digital businesses far more actively than the United States, and has the potential to bring about substantial changes in the way consumers can use their gadgets and apps. Changing internet rules globally have also prompted many Canadians to switch to toll-free numbers. This led to some Canadian suppliers offering these services.
Gerard de Graaf, a veteran EU official who helped get the DMA passed earlier this year, reportedly said: “We expect the implications to be far-reaching.” He was appointed director of a new EU office in San Francisco earlier this month. The bureau was formed in part to explain the law’s ramifications to big tech companies. According to De Graaf, they will be forced to open the doors to their walled gardens.
De Graaf spoke in an emerald-green accented conference room at the Irish Embassy in San Francisco, where the EU office is located. “If you have an iPhone, you should be able to download apps not only from the App Store, but also from other app stores or the Internet,” adds de Graaf. The DMA forces major platforms to allow smaller competitors and could even force Meta’s WhatsApp to receive messages from other apps like Telegram or Signal. Additionally, the DMA could prohibit Apple, Amazon, and Google from promoting their own apps and services.
Although DMA implementation has already begun, technology platforms are not required to comply immediately. The European Union (EU) must first determine which companies are large enough and well established to be labeled “gatekeepers” and subject to the strictest regulations. According to De Graaf, perhaps a dozen different companies will be part of this group, which will be unveiled in the spring. After that, these guardians will have a period of 6.5 months to come into compliance.
De Graaf outlines guidelines for internet use in Europe
De Graaf said he anticipates a flurry of litigation challenging new European standards for Big Tech, but he’s currently in California to help make the Silicon Valley titans aware that the rules have changed. According to him, the European Union (EU) has in the past imposed significant fines on companies such as Google, Apple and others following antitrust investigations. This was a procedure that placed the burden of proof on the bureaucrats. Under the DMA, the responsibility for compliance rests with the company in question. According to de Graaf, the most important conclusion is that “the negotiations are over and we are in a compliance problem”. “You may not be okay with that, but that’s the way it is.”
Because some aspects of compliance will be easier to implement globally, it is expected that DMA will drive changes in how technology platforms serve people beyond the 400 million internet users in the EU. This is because GDPR, the EU’s digital privacy law, will have the same effect.
Strict regulations will come into force
Tech companies will also soon be forced to contend with a sweeping second EU law known as the Digital Services Act. This law mandates the risk assessment of certain disclosures and algorithms regarding automated decision-making. It also has the potential to force social apps such as TikTok to make their data open to external scrutiny. The law will be implemented in stages, with the deadline for the most important online platforms to comply in the middle of 2024. In addition, the European Union is considering the adoption of specific regulations relating to artificial intelligence ( IA), which could result in the prohibition of certain applications of the technology.
According to De Graaf, stricter regulations for digital giants are necessary not only to help protect individuals and other businesses from unethical business activities, but also to allow society to reap the full benefits. of technology. The White House just released a non-binding AI Bill of Rights, which he criticized, saying a lack of strong regulation can harm public trust in the technology. “They will avoid AI, and that will never succeed,” he adds. “If our citizens lose faith in AI because they think it discriminates against them and has destructive consequences for their lives,” he argues, “they will shun AI.”
Collaboration on the Path to a New Internet
Following recent moves by the EU and US to engage more in technology policy, the new EU office has just been launched. According to De Graaf, both sides want to discover solutions to the problem of chip shortages as well as methods by which authoritarian governments could use technology and the internet.
In addition to that, he plans to travel to Sacramento to speak with members of the California State Legislature who he believes have been pioneers in the fight against Big Tech. A law that imposes strict default privacy settings for children and limits how companies use the information they collect about children was recently approved by lawmakers and signed into law. With the exception of the CHIPS and Science Act, which allocated $52 billion to promote semiconductor production and was signed into law in July, the United States Congress has approved very few laws in recent years that have had a impact on the technology industry.
According to Marlena Wisniak, who leads work on technology at the European Center for Nonprofit Law, a nonprofit organization that champions civil liberties, the European Union’s increased presence in the backyard from the tech industry is further proof that the lockdown is serious about impacting tech policy globally. She suggests that de Graaf could use some of that authority to help people in countries outside the United States and European Union who depend on the platforms of big internet companies but are rarely represented in tech diplomacy.
Wisniak also has high hopes that EU digital envoys will be able to avoid the pitfalls that have derailed the plans of some former Silicon Valley newcomers. Silicon Valley is a place where there are far more entrepreneurs, executives, and investors than there are policy experts. She says: “I hope EU politicians don’t get fooled by the buzz around the technology.” “There is truth in the tech bro narrative.”
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