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Big Tech Deepens Divides Over EU Regulation

 |  October 17, 2021

A frank intervention in the European parliament last month captured the frustrations that are blunting the EU’s attempts to curb the powers of Big Tech, reported The Financial Times.

Last year, the EU unveiled a radical blueprint for tech regulation that would put onerous responsibilities on the likes of Google, Facebook and Amazon to clean up their platforms and ensure fair competition.

But since then, the package of measures has become bogged down in the European parliament, and now risks being watered down and heavily delayed.

There are even fears in Brussels that the new rules will not be in place before Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s competition and digital policy chief, leaves her post in three years.

“It sounded like we had agreed but that is not the case . . . at all. We are a long way from having a common position on this,” Evelyne Gebhardt, a German MEP, said in exasperation during last month’s debate.

The slow progress also gives Big Tech more time to fully capture key sectors of the economy. “If we wait too long some markets will not be able to be repaired any more. This is about protecting consumers and small companies in Europe. We need to get this done as soon as possible,” said one person directly involved in the parliamentary debate.

The two proposed bills are the Digital Markets Act (DMA), which is designed to force the so-called gatekeepers, such as Google, to ensure a level playing field on their vast online platforms, and the Digital Services Act (DSA), which clarifies the responsibilities of Big Tech for keeping illegal content off their services.

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