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EU Opens Silicon Valley Office To Work Hand In Hand With Big Tech

 |  September 1, 2022

The European Commission has opened a San Francisco office to help ease the flow of communication between the European Union’s executive branch and California-based Big Tech firms.

Over the years, the relationship between the EU and Silicon Valley technology companies like Google and Meta has been turbulent, to say the least, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported. The most contentious issues revolve around data protection and antitrust laws, with the EU often taking a hardline stance on the business practices of United States tech firms.

The new West Coast office is the latest initiative to improve the trans-Atlantic relationship after the U.S.-EU Trade and Technology Council was created last year to work out differences over trade and technology policy.

“It is a concrete step to further reinforce the EU’s work on issues such as cyber and countering hybrid threats, and foreign information manipulation and interference,” said EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice President of the European Commission Josep Borrell in a Thursday (Sept. 1) press release.

The new office will be headed up by Gerard de Graaf, a senior EU diplomat who has been involved in two landmark pieces of legislation passed this year.

The first of those, the Digital Services Act, has wide-reaching implications for the digital services sector, especially social media companies. Among other things, the act will ban targeted advertising aimed at children and will allow European governments to tell social media companies to take down illegal content and specify their ability to fine companies that fail to do so.

The second new regulation, the Digital Markets Act, deals with anti-competitive behavior, a concern that has been behind a string of EU antitrust cases against Big Tech in recent years.

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