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Members of the European Parliament are outraged by shell groups driving big tech arguments.

Three members of the European Parliament (MEP) call for a probe into unregistered lobbying initiatives from various big tech companies. The MEPs requested the EU to suspend all groups breaking transparency rules.

The issue

The Digital Services Act (DSA) and Digital Markets Act (DMA) were recently greenlit. Both acts serve to limit the freedom of large tech organizations. When the new rules were proposed in 2020, lobbying groups launched significant campaigns to combat the regulation. In a recent letter to Parliament head Roberta Metsola, several MEPs claim the lobbyists employ deceptive ways to sway policymakers.

The letter was sent by MEP Paul Tang and signed by DSA author Christel Schaldemose and MEP Rene Repasi. The document alleges that big technology groups financed multiple campaigns without revealing their funds or signing in with the European Union’s transparency register, which is required by law. The method is known as ‘shadow lobbying’.

“The work of these shell organizations who impersonate being official representatives of groups of constituents, such as SMEs, while at the same time put forward business interests of their funders, is outrageous and harms a proper balancing of interests”, the three parliamentarians wrote.

Tang urges the EU to probe whether these efforts turned out to be successful or not. The next step is up to the parliament.