In Europe, another regulatory salvo may be aimed at U.S. tech firms’ dominance across online platforms, and the collection and use of data.
According to a proposal circulating that is slated to be presented later in the month, “currently a small number of Big Tech firms hold a large part of the world’s data. This is a major weakness for data-driven businesses to emerge, grow and innovate today, including in Europe, but huge opportunities lie ahead.”
The creation of a “single European data space, a genuine single market for data” would include new rules governing cross-border use and data interoperability, among other tenets. According to the newswire, the new rules would also prevent larger tech firms from “unilaterally imposing conditions for access” and data use. “On the basis of this fact-finding, the Commission will consider how best to address more systemic issues, including by ex ante regulation, if appropriate, to ensure that markets stay open and fair,” the paper noted.
Reports this past week came that the government will require larger tech companies to submit reports detailing their business practices each year to provide transparency on their operations – and give advance notice of changes.
The Japan Times reported that the mandate would seek to keep tech giants such as Amazon from abusing dominant market positions when competing with smaller online retailers. By way of example, the regulations would require a company such as Google to explain its search result processes. In terms of timeframe, the bill is likely to be submitted to the legislative session that is in place after approval by the Cabinet either this month or next.
As noted by the news outlet, the government will leverage existing antitrust law, and any fines or regulatory actions tied to the new mandates would be the purview of the Fair Trade Commission (FTC).
Digital Currencies, Too
Separately, the movement by at least some central governments to embrace digital currencies continues.
China, as has been well-known, has been striving to develop and launch a digital version of the yuan. As reported by Abacus, Zhu Min, a former deputy governor at the People’s Bank of China, has said China should “further consider its response to Libra” in a way that would foster “coordinated global regulation.” He also said there is no schedule for launching China’s own digital version of the yuan.
The comments came after actions last month that saw the Bank of International Settlements (BIS) create a group focused on digital currencies. That group is comprised of the central banks of Canada, Britain, Japan and Sweden, as well as the European Central Bank.
CFPB Files Suit Against Citizens Bank
Separately, late last week, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) filed a lawsuit against Citizens Bank. The suit, filed in Rhode Island, alleges that Citizens Bank violated federal consumer protection laws during the period between 2010 to 2016. Amid the complaints: The suit alleges that the bank charged fees on erroneous or unauthorized transactions. The CFPB also accused the bank of failing to offer credit counseling referrals to customers who had requested that service by calling a line dedicated to that service.
As reported in The Hill, Citizens said it “self-identified operational errors” that affected roughly 2 percent, or 25,000, of its base of roughly 1.2 million credit card customers. The bank said it reported that conduct to the CFPB and paid $750,000 to a broad swath of customers.