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UK Ministers No Longer Wish To Empower Tech Regulator

 |  May 3, 2022

The UK is poised to shelve plans to empower a new technology regulator, in a blow to global efforts to curb the dominance of internet companies, including Google and Facebook. 

The government’s new legislative programme is not expected to include a bill to provide statutory underpinning to the digital markets unit that is based within the Competition and Markets Authority, said people briefed on the situation. 

Without the legislation the UK tech regulator will not be able to set rules for leading internet companies and impose fines on them for breaking those rules. The government announced plans to set up the digital markets unit in 2020 and said it would be given powers to devise codes of conduct for tech companies and fine those that did not comply up to 10 percent of annual turnover. 

The unit was established in ‘shadow form’ last year and is operating with around 60 staff, but has no powers beyond the Competition and Market Authority’s existing capabilities. The Queen’s Speech due on May 10, which will outline the government’s legislative programme for the coming year, is not expected to include a bill that would provide the unit with statutory powers.

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