Individuals should be able to sue US tech firms in court for breaking EU legislation aimed at limiting their influence, according to Privacy International, BEUC (the pan-European consumer group), and a range of academics.

The appeal comes as E.U. parliamentarians and E.U. governments work out the final details of the Digital Markets Act (DMA), which was proposed by E.U. antitrust head Margrethe Vestager a little over a year ago but has yet to become law.

Expanding the circle

The DMA contains guidelines on what to do and what not to do for online gatekeepers, leveling its firepower at the big tech giants, including Amazon, Facebook (Meta Platforms), Alphabet’s Google, and Microsoft.

The DMA only empowers business users to sue firms that violate the law.

In an open letter to E.U. institutions, the consortium wrote that the DMA must enable users to pursue legal action for violations of DMA regulation in national courts, both as individuals or as a group. While E.U. legislators are amenable to the proposal, member states have so far chosen to ignore the demand.

A united voice

The consortium also urged parliamentarians and E.U. nations to allow consumer groups and civil society leaders to participate in the processes outlined in the draft regulations to ensure that the Commission’s decisions on the digital giants reflect their needs.

The Center for Digital Democracy and the Consumer Federation of America, the Civil Liberties Union for Europe, European Digital Rights, and academics from the University of Oxford, the Vienna University of Economics and Business, and the University of Amsterdam are among the signatories of the open letter. 

Tech giants have worked very hard to whittle down what regulations can do and may not accept the open letter’s proposition without a fight.