Regulation

EU Eyes Single European Data Market

data regulation

In Europe, the continued evolution of data policies and regulation now point toward a single market across the Continent.

As reported mid week, the European Commission is planning a single European market for data, in hopes that by pooling talent, the region can compete with Big Tech in Silicon Valley and China.

Final proposals — expected by the end of this year following feedback from stakeholders — would also limit the control Big Tech firms like Facebook and Amazon have over data.

“The battle for industrial data starts now and Europe will be the main battlefield. Europe has the largest industrial base. The winners of today will not be the winners of tomorrow,” EU industry chief Thierry Breton told a news conference last week.

And one way to leverage that data, and to boost competition, according to reports, focuses on industrial data, which might help Europe become more competitive with the Internet of Things (IoT).

Breton said the plan’s cornerstone calls for the creation of a €2 billion EU cloud platform alliance. Other proposals would include directives governing use of data across borders and data interoperability.

There is also a proposal for getting rid of EU regulations against anti-competitive data sharing.

“We see some platforms as gatekeepers, that is not what we want for our internal market,” Breton said.

Margrethe Vestager, Europe’s digital and antitrust commissioner, has said she is considering launching an inquiry into industries using new technologies.

Japan’s New Legislation

In Japan this past week, the Cabinet approved new legislation that will strengthen regulations on many of those marquee names in Big Tech. The legislation will be sent to Parliament and will require tech firms to increase disclosures and transparency on their business practices.

As noted in this space last week, the legislation mandates that Amazon, Google, Apple and others issue annual reports to the government (the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry) that detail how terms and conditions, rates and fees, are struck.

In terms of timeline, as reported, passage is slated for the current parliamentary session and would take effect in March of next year.

Amid the other components of the bill: Big Tech companies have to notify vendors of changes in agreements in advance and must detail how search results are displayed.

Individual Company News

In terms of individual company news, and in the United States, Facebook new is being sued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), for alleged tax evasion — to the tune of $9 billion.

In the complaint, as detailed by The Wall Street Journal, the IRS alleges that Facebook understated the value of intellectual property that was sold a decade ago to an Irish subsidiary — and that unit paid more than $14 billion in royalties to the tech giant between 2010 to 2016.

When it filed its tax returns, as reported by the Journal, Facebook put a $7 billion value on the intangible assets (the intellectual property). But Facebook has argued that subsequent estimates of that value are even lower, so it is entitled to a refund.

And in the latest development in the ongoing Wells Fargo saga, the bank agreed last week to pay a settlement of $3 billion for the scandal involving the creation of fake accounts.  That settlement amount is reportedly being finalized with the Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission.

As reported, the settlement gives the Justice Department the option to pursue future criminal charges in the case.

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