When it comes to governance in big tech companies, the European Union (EU) has been taking over since the adoption of the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) in April 2016. At its core, regulation ensures that companies collect user data legally. Strict conditions and that this data is protected from misuse and abuse. Regulation also gives users more control over their data.
Recently, the European Union made it mandatory for all original equipment manufacturers to include a USB-Type-C port in their devices to reduce electronic waste and consumers can reuse their old chargers, even if Just buy new equipment. While a lot of smartphone makers are already shipping their devices with a USB Type-C port, Apple is not. This makes the new mandate particularly difficult for a company that has managed to separate its products from the Android and Windows ecosystem through its Lightning port. Now, the EU Parliament has approved two new laws that deal with issues related to software things, namely data and service.
The European Parliament has passed a law to approve and adopt the 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 up to 6% for DSA violations
digital services act
This piece of legislation focuses on measures that digital service providers, including social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, and marketplaces such as Amazon, take to prevent the spread of misinformation on their platforms. It also controls and balances targeted advertisements, especially those targeted at children. The salient features of the Digital Services Act are as follows:
The Act focuses on introducing new measures on the part of digital service providers to combat illegal content online. It also mandates tech companies to remove pieces of information and content that are not allowed on their platforms, such as content that incites violence, while respecting the fundamental rights of all users.
It also mandates online marketplaces to strengthen traceability on their platforms to keep products and services secure. Under the rule, companies have been directed to conduct random checks to be sure.
The law also mandates companies to make it easier for users to challenge their content moderation decisions.
— In addition, this law prohibits deceptive practices and certain types of targeted advertising, such as those targeting children and ads based on sensitive data.
“So-called “dark patterns” and deceptive practices aimed at manipulating the preferences of users will also be banned,” the EU parliament wrote in a press release.
“These platforms will also have to provide users with the option of not receiving recommendations based on profiling. They will also have to facilitate access to their data and algorithms to the authorities and vetted researchers,” it added.
The Act will come into force in the European Union from 1 January 2024.
digital market act
This law encourages large tech companies to ensure a better business environment. This prevents companies from using their strongholds to monopolize the market and promote their products over others. It also aims to promote interoperability between chat apps, which in turn will give users more options. Here are the salient features of the Digital Markets Act:
The law mandates large online platforms (platforms whose dominant online status makes it difficult for consumers to avoid them) to ensure a better business environment and more services for consumers. In fact, it forces tech companies to give equal weightage to a competing product by small businesses.
It also ensures small businesses have access to the data generated in Gatekeeper’s platform to promote their own offerings. It allows third party platforms to bypass the big tech companies and communicate directly with their customers.
This rule prohibits large tech companies from ranking their services or products more favorably 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 prohibits large tech companies from processing users’ personal data for targeted advertising, unless expressly consented.
The European Union can impose fines of up to 10 percent of a company’s total worldwide turnover in the previous financial year if it is found to have violated the Digital Markets Act. In cases of repeated non-compliance, fines of up to 20 percent of the company’s total worldwide business may be imposed.
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