The UK plans to launch a regulator to make sure that big tech companies like Facebook and Google do not abuse their market power. As the dominant players, they have been known to have ambitions exceeding their already gargantuan empires.
They participate in anti-competitive business practices and highly disturbing levels of invasive data collection.
The regulator is called the Digital Markets Unit and was announced last year. It will now go into action, with some limitations on what its role will be. Until the parliament puts out legislation, the regulator will not be able to issue fines.
The DMU’s role
Even though it may not be able to issue fines yet, the watchdog will be tasked with scrutinizing these firms for any behavior that they deem unfair. The Digital Secretary, Owen Dowden, said in a statement that the DMU has launched and will begin its work.
It will focus on relationships between platforms and digital advertisers, platforms and content providers.
The unit is set to pave the way for the development of new digital services and lower prices while giving consumers more choice and control over personal data. It will also work on supporting the news industry, which he said is vital to the freedom of expression and democracy.
What’s next for the unit?
Dowden says that the watchdog will find its feet and get started on coordinating with other governments on the issue of how these platforms use the content. In April, he will meet with other tech or digital ministers to discuss the same.
As for the news side of things, Facebook and Google came to an agreement with Australia over the sharing of news content and other countries could do something similar.
Dowden also said that the government has published an outline of the new unit’s functions and role, for its first year in active duty.