Digital Markets Act: EU countries agree on guidelines for Internet companies

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The EU states agreed on a common line in order to contain the market power of some large IT companies such as Google and Facebook. The permanent representatives of the member states unanimously agreed to a corresponding compromise on Wednesday, as announced by the Slovenian EU Council Presidency. The Digital Markets Act (DMA) is supposed to ensure that those companies that are defined as gatekeepers behave fairly.

The EU states will formally confirm their position on November 25th. The European Parliament also wants to commit to one line by the end of the year. But in the end it was still unclear whether the parliament would include other aspects such as the interaction of different services – for example WhatsApp with other messengers – or the handling of target group-specific advertising in the DMA. Negotiations between the Council of EU States and the European Parliament could then begin at the beginning of next year.

In October, it became known from the confidential compromise paper of the Slovenian presidency that in addition to large platforms such as search engines, operating systems, social networks and video portals, communication services, cloud providers and online advertising networks, voice assistants such as Alexa, Cortana, Google Assistant and Siri were also being planned Regulation fall. Gatekeepers should no longer be able to easily use the data generated by their services for their own commercial activities.

At the end of 2020, the EU Commission proposed a large digital package consisting of DMA and the Digital Services Act (DSA). The DSA is more concerned with social issues such as illegal content and recommendation algorithms, the DMA with aspects of competition law.

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Platforms that act as gatekeepers, for example, should no longer exclusively preinstall their own applications. You could also no longer require other developers of operating systems or hardware manufacturers to only install programs from in-house. It is said to be anti-competitive to legally or technically prevent users from uninstalling the apps supplied. Users would have to give their consent if a large provider wants to merge their data generated on a portal with those from other of their services.

The large IT companies then face fines that can run into the billions. With the DMA, the EU states are guided by the proposal of the EU Commission, according to which it should be up to 10 percent of annual sales. To be treated as a gatekeeper, the platforms must have, among other things, more than 45 million users in the EU. You would then have to meet certain requirements.


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