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UK Law Empowers Regulators to Fine Big Tech Without Court Approval

 |  May 28, 2024

The U.K. Parliament has passed the Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill (DMCC), granting regulators the authority to impose substantial fines on Big Tech companies without the need for court approval.

The DMCC aims to curb the dominance of Big Tech firms by enforcing stringent rules designed to foster competition. Companies that fail to adhere to these new regulations could face hefty penalties. Specifically, the law targets companies identified by the U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) as having strategic market status (SMS). These firms are characterized by their “substantial and entrenched market power” and “strategic significance” within the U.K. market. To qualify as an SMS company, a firm must generate over £25 billion in global revenue or more than £1 billion in U.K. revenue.

Under the DMCC, the CMA is empowered to determine if a company has violated the law, mandate compliance, and impose fines up to 10 percent of the company’s global revenue, all without needing to engage the court system. This provision is expected to expedite the enforcement process and ensure quicker compliance from the tech giants.

Read more: UK Passes Digital Markets, Competition Bill (DMCC) to Curb Big Tech

In addition to promoting competition among Big Tech, the U.K.’s DMCC also addresses several consumer protection concerns. The new law bans fake reviews, mandates greater transparency in subscription contracts, regulates secondary ticket sales, and eliminates hidden fees. These measures are intended to protect consumers from deceptive practices and ensure fairer market conditions.

Another key aspect of the DMCC is the requirement for SMS-designated companies to report any mergers to the CMA. This stipulation aims to prevent anti-competitive consolidations that could further entrench the market power of these dominant firms.

The passage of the DMCC marks a significant shift in the Big Tech regulatory landscape for digital markets in the U.K. By empowering the CMA to act decisively against non-compliant companies, the legislation seeks to create a more competitive and transparent digital economy, benefiting both consumers and smaller businesses alike.

Source: The Verge