Europe present new regulate technology directive: the main legal challenges for Google, Apple, Amazon and Facebook: Europe will close the siege on the big tech companies before the end of the year.
The European Commission will propose during the last quarter of 2020 the new Digital Services Law with which it will force multinationals to share part of their data with their small competitors. The Old Continent is determined to end the digital monopoly of American companies.
The new Digital Services Act has already passed its period of public exposure and has garnered feedback from many social and business agents around the globe. That the Giants share their data is only the tip of the iceberg: the European Commission includes a package of measures with this standard that could change the entire landscape of the digital economy in the member countries.
In addition, the publication of this new European regulation is another step in the tension experienced by Silicon Valley and Brussels for years. The European Commission has imposed millionaire fines on Californian technology companies, such as Facebook, Apple or Google. The European Commissioner for Competition, Margrethe Vestager, and the Commissioner for the Internal Market, Thierry Breton, have no pulse.
One more step in that tension that will not stop there: the European Commission has already warned that in 2021 it will be the year in which it raises its own Google rate in the event that no agreement is reached within the framework of the OECD. Meanwhile, countries like France and Spain already have their taxes approved. The Spanish Google tax will come into force in mid-January next year.
The technology companies that will be most damned when the Digital Services Law prospers are those known as GAFA, acronym of Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon. They have already had their pluses and minuses with the US authorities, after a committee of the House of Representatives of that country concluded a months-long investigation settling that the four enjoy a monopoly situation in their respective businesses.
Europe present new regulate technology directive
The law also comes at a controversial year 2020 that, pandemic aside, it has also seen how the resurfaced debate of the fees charged by Apple for selling applications and services across operating systems like iOS, or how the Administration Trump pushed for social networks, foreign as china TikTok operate on its soil under the bondage of a technological american.
This is how these glasses are facing the regulations and impositions that are coming from Europe, and this is how they will face the new regulations of Digital Services.
- Dominance in the advertising market and millionaire fines: Google
The search engine giant has a long history of conflicts with European institutions. In February of this year began the first of three trials that will decide whether the sanctions worth 8.200 million euros against Google and its parent company, Alphabet, are applicable.
Specifically, there are 3 sanctions. The first, being accused of giving Google Shopping Services an advantage over smaller competitors. The second to favor their applications on Android terminals. The third, for abuse of dominant position in the advertising market.
This summer, during the period of public exposure of the new law on Digital Services, Google sent an extensive statement in which it warned of the risks that this new regulation could raise. For example," fundamental rights "that could be affected if big tech companies"must prioritize speed when removing content or be careful when making those decisions".
One of the issues that will regulate precisely this new regulation is that the technological ones are responsible for the contents that are published in them. Google, along with Facebook and Twitter, have already asked that this not be so. It will also pursue the monopolistic practices by which manufacturers pre-install their apps on the phones they sell.
Not only Europe scrutinizes Google. Data protection authorities in member countries are following you closely. The Belgian, for example, imposed a penalty of 600,000 euros a few months ago to the seeker for violating the right to forget a politician. Italy opened a few weeks ago an investigation for alleged monopoly in the advertising market, something for which it was already sanctioned in France.
Google is aware that its affair with the EU is not precisely an idyll, and tension has rekindled now that an internal document of the company has been leaked detailing what its strategy is to combat the European regulatory attempt.
Taxes and complaints from Spotify: Apple
The European regulatory eagerness responds, among other things, to the fiscal framework that the big tech companies have developed in the Old Continent to evade as many taxes as possible. The European Union ruled against Apple, and demanded the iPhone manufacturer to return 13,000 million euros in unpaid taxes to Ireland, a country that never showed much interest in the case: rather the opposite.
In fact, the EU Court of Justice ended up ruling this summer that Apple would not have to return that amount. Commissioner Vestager now found herself in the complex situation of reconsidering the case or accepting the court ruling.
Like Apple, Google, Facebook and many other technological ones —such as Booking or Microsoft, which demand a more concrete framework for action for the new Digital Services Law—, the technological one has presented a letter with its position before the new regulations.
Apple, in particular, was concerned that the new regulation addressed too many fronts and did not specify too much how it will be able to offer enough flexibility to allow "diverse content" in the sense that technology companies will have to take responsibility even for the content published by users.
Rakuten and Spotify have joined forces and asked the EU to investigate Apple for monopoly. The reasons are very similar to the fine that is being settled in court against Google: they criticize the company for prioritizing its services, such as Apple Music, over that of its competitors. The American camera saw clear that there was monopoly.
That is not going to stop those of Cupertino, and less so after they have announced Apple One, a product that centralizes payments in a single installment of several of its services with a very competitive discount.
In case few were its fronts, Apple also refused to accept the idea of regulating, on the part of Europe, the creation of a universal charger.
Sending European data to the USA and privacy on Facebook
Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton said this a few weeks ago: Europe has missed the first wave of data, that of personal data. We cannot afford to miss the second wave, that of industrial data.
Only a few Americans capitalize on the largest data flow in the entire world. And Facebook is in that basket, with its more than 2.200 million users participating in the largest social network in the globe. That is why Facebook, which has also been pointed out by the US Congress, is in the pillory. That's why, and because he has already starred in scandals like that of Cambridge Analytica.
In its submissions to the new regulation, Facebook believes that without "sufficient harmonisation" and without "in-depth knowledge" of the sector and on how to improve the Single Market, the European Union could put sticks in the wheels "to the capacity for innovation, to the ability to scale and could force many relocations outside the EU".
This summer was also news the publication of the ruling of the CJEU on the convention to send data of European users to the United States. The legal framework was known as Privacy Shield - and the ruling considers that the data processing that is given in the US to the data does not comply with the same scruples and standards.
The ruling came after complaints filed by noyb, an association of European privacy activists. Instagram Facebook —which also owns WhatsApp and Instagram— continued to divert data from its users to the U.S. after the ruling, claiming that they were making use of another legal framework, the SCC, "Standard" Contractual Clauses.
These SCCs are the legal mechanism used by companies to send European user data to non-EU third countries, as long as they meet European standards.
Now the ball is on the roof of national regulators: the control and data protection bodies of each member state. The first to take the initiative has been the Irish and Facebook has even threatened to leave Europe for this reason.
Abuse of third-party sellers and spying on workers: Amazon
The retail giant is one of the technological multinationals with the most open fronts right now in Europe. Germany, for example, is investigating whether its pricing policies may breach any antitrust rules, an extreme that has been contemplated by the European Commission itself for more than a year. The US Congress already finds that Amazon practices anti-competitive exercises against sellers who use its platform.
The European Commission opened an investigation against the platform just a few days ago for the same reason. In Spain, several entrepreneurs have denounced the giant for defaults valued at close to one million euros.
It also has open fronts in other areas, such as consumer or labor. In the first, a European Consumer Association determined this summer that platforms such as Amazon should be held responsible for defective or dangerous products sold through its marketplace, despite the fact that these are provided by third-party users.
In the second camp, also this year there have been calls for MEPs to investigate from Brussels whether Amazon spies on workers to prevent them from unionizing. A few days after this lawsuit was known, a leak revealed that Amazon would even use software for this purpose.
Precisely the coronavirus pandemic has made the European institutions scrutinize with greater intensity this type of platforms, after cases of abusive price increases in products such as masks, or the sale of products that falsely claimed to be miraculous against COVID-19.
The European Commission has already announced its moves against technology companies such as Amazon, and countries such as France or the Netherlands have also done the same. All, in a framework in which for the past few years, the Trump administration has practiced a protectionism by which it has come to threaten the implementation of new tariffs in the event that a Google rate thrives globally in the OECD.
Europe present new regulate technology directive