Britain forces tougher competition rules on Big Tech

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The move targets American tech giants Google and Facebook.

It seems that US Big Tech just cannot get any sympathy in Europe. Britain is now going to impose a new competition regime on Google and Facebook.

In what has become a common theme in European regulations, the move by the U.K. seeks to prevent the tech giants from using their dominance to push out smaller firms and disadvantage consumers.

British authorities ask for new legislation to tackle technology giants

A dedicated unit within the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) will enforce the code. CMA this year said it needed new laws to keep the tech giants in check.

Britain’s competition regulator the CMA told Reuters that Google and Facebook dominate digital advertising. They account for around 80% of 14 billion pounds spent in 2019.

The two U.S. companies have committed to working with the British government and regulator on digital advertising. This includes giving users greater control over their data and the ads they receive.

Britain’s Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden told Reuters that here was a growing consensus among regulators that the concentration of power in a small number of companies was curtailing growth.

This concentration could reduce innovation and have negative impacts on the people and businesses that rely on them. “It’s time to address that and unleash a new age of tech growth,” Dowden said.

Related: France sends out notices to big tech to start paying digital tax

A new agency to take on the task of reining in Big Tech

The newly-created Digital Markets Unit will begin work in April. The DMU could have powers to suspend, block and reverse decisions made by technology firms. It could also impose financial penalties for non-compliance.

The CMA said that companies will have to be more transparent about how they use consumer data. Moreover, the Authority will also ban restrictions that make it hard to use rival platforms. The government added that the rules will also support the news industry, rebalancing the relationship between publishers and platforms.

The CMA said on Monday it was assessing whether a complaint about Google technology warranted a formal investigation. Google defended itself, saying advertising practices needed to adapt to changing expectations around how data was collected and used.

Tip: Should Europe compete for technological world domination?