France is pushing to expand regulations that will grant European Union member states, the capabilities to punish big tech companies for breaking the law. The changes proposed by France, concern the Digital Services Act, a set of proposed laws that are designed to curb anticompetitive behavior by the internet’s gatekeepers.
They also provide more protections to consumers. The fines proposed for companies found in transgression are also heavy.
France wants to see countries granted more power to force companies to pull down content from their platforms if it is found to be problematic.
What France wants, is for individual states, rather than the EU, to be responsible for removing illegal content. At present, EU member states do not have this ability unless the tech companies locate servers in their country.
Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Google, have their servers in Ireland and Luxembourg, where local laws are lax.
The Financial Times reports that Cedric O, the French minister for the digital economy, has been in meetings with members of the European parliament over the past few weeks, to talk about the issues.
What Cedric wants
Cedric says that getting the laws passed is a major objective for France, which will hold the rotating presidency of the EU council next year. The proposition is cause for worry, for some EU officials. They told the Times that a move like this would fragment the single market, turning all the chaos of individual decisions for the 27 countries into a nightmare.
Cedric wants member countries to be able to police not just illegal content, but also harmful content and disinformation.
France wants the text to be broadened to include other types of problematic content. Without a legal framework, he says, there is nothing stopping the companies from censoring things they do not like.