When it comes to reigning in big tech companies, the European Union (EU) has been carrying the mantle ever since GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) was adopted in April 2016. At its core, the regulation ensures that companies collect user data legally under strict conditions and that this data is protected from abuse and misuse. The regulation also gives users more control over their data. Also Read - Apple products will get big discounts in China between July 29 to August 1
More recently, EU made it mandatory for all original equipment makers to include a USB-Type-C port in their devices in a bid to reduce electronic waste and that consumers can reuse their old chargers even as they purchase new devices. While a lot of smartphone makers are already shipping their devices with USB Type-C ports, Apple isn’t. This makes the new mandate particularly difficult for the company that has managed to differentiate its products from the Android and Windows ecosystem via its lightning port. Now, EU Parliament has approved two new laws that tackle issues plaguing the software side of things, namely, data and service. Also Read - Amazon Mobile Savings Days sale: Best deals on OnePlus 10R, Galaxy M33 5G and more
The European Parliament has passed a legislation approving and adopting Digital Services Act (DSA) and the Digital Markets Act (DMA). Companies face fines of up to 10% of annual global turnover for DMA violations and 6% for DSA breaches Also Read - Google Play celebrates its 10-year anniversary with a new logo
Digital Services Act
This piece of legislation focuses on the measures that digital service providers, which includes social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter and marketplaces such as Amazon, to curb the spread of misinformation on their platforms. It also puts checks and balance on targeted advertising, especially ads targeted at children. Here are the highlights of the Digital Services Act:
— The act focuses on introducing new measures on part of the digital service providers to counter illegal content online. It also mandates tech companies to react quickly in taking down information and the pieces of content that isn’t allowed on their platforms, such as content that incite violence, all while respecting users’ fundamental rights.
— It also mandates online marketplaces to strengthen traceability on their platforms to ensure products and services are safe. Under the rule, companies have been directed to perform random checks to ensure the same.
— The law also makes it mandatory for companies to make it easier for users to challenge their content moderation decision.
— Additionally, this legislation bans misleading practices and certain types of targeted advertising, such as those targeting children and ads based on sensitive data.
“The so-called “dark patterns” and misleading practices aimed at manipulating users’ choices will also be prohibited,” the EU Parliament wrote in a press release.
“These platforms will also have to provide users with the choice to not receive recommendations based on profiling. They will also have to facilitate access to their data and algorithms to authorities and vetted researchers,” it added.
This act will come into effect in EU starting January 1, 2024.
Digital Markets Act
This legislation places pushes big tech companies to ensure a fairer business environment. It also prevents companies from monopolising the market and using their stronghold to promote their own products over others. It also aims to promote interoperability among chat apps, which in turn will give users more choice. Here are the highlights of the Digital Markets Act:
— This legislation mandates large online platforms (platforms whose dominant online position make them hard for consumers to avoid) to ensure a fairer business environment and more services for consumers. In effect, it forces tech companies to offer similar weightage to competing product by smaller business.
— It also ensures small businesses to access the data they generate in the gatekeeper’s platform in a bid to promote their own offers. It also allow third-party platforms to bypass big tech companies and communicate with its customers directly.
— This rule also prevent big tech companies from ranking their own services or products more favourably than other third parties on their platforms.
— It also ensures that users can easily uninstall pre-loaded apps on their devices and use any third-party apps and app stores, something that a lot of companies don’t allow.
— It also prevents big tech companies from processing users’ personal data for targeted advertising, unless consent is explicitly granted.
EU can impose fines of up to 10 percent of a company’s total worldwide turnover in the preceding financial year if it is found violating the Digital Markets Act. In cases of repeated non-compliance, a penalty of up to 20 percent of a company’s total worldwide turnover can be charged.