EU Parliament Adopts Ground-Breaking Digital Regulations Aimed at Big Tech

This week, the European Parliament greenlighted two laws aimed at reigning in certain big tech business practices and cementing user rights. According to a TechCrunch article by Natasha Lomas, the Digital Markets Act (DMA) and the Digital Services Act’s (DSA) swift passage represent prevailing European sentiment that more regulation is needed to curb bad behavior and create a more competitive tech landscape.

The DMA “defines clear rules for large online platforms. It aims to ensure that no large online platform that acts as a ‘gatekeeper’ for a large number of users abuses its position to the detriment of companies wishing to access such users,” a press release from the parliament explained in March. 

It directly bans practices by covered entities like Apple, Google, and Facebook, which have previously resulted in massive fines in the last decade. Prohibited conduct includes data abuses, unfair and anticompetitive policies, third-party developer right limitations, and the pre-installation of certain software applications.

The complimentary DSA seeks to protect users’ online rights and has wide application, the news press said. It is set to govern the handling of illegal content and products, as well as increase accountability for larger platforms which will have greater responsibilities, TechCrunch reported.

From here, the tech news outlet said there is little left for the parliament to do between now and when the laws take effect early next year. However, questions of enforcement “for such a massive new regulatory duty” persist.

TechCrunch reported that the European Commission is set to take a front seat enforcement role for both the DMA and the DSA. For the former, violations can reportedly reach as high as 10% of a tech titan’s global annual earnings and even up to 20% for repeat violators, while penalties under the DSA can reach 6% of global annual earnings. “So the stakes are high for all concerned,” the article said, noting that the oversight body plans to beef up staffing numbers, but finding the funds to do so remains a challenge.