United Kingdom reviews urges new rules to deal with power of tech giants

  • United Kingdom reviews urges new rules to deal with power of tech giants

United Kingdom reviews urges new rules to deal with power of tech giants

As we've observed before, with growing cynicism, empty gesture politics when it comes to tech regulation, particularly from non-US authorities in relation to USA firms, are empty calories in terms of responsible action. Last year, the former was hit with a record $5bn antitrust fine from European Union regulators who ordered it to stop using its popular Android mobile operating system to block rivals.

"The digital sector has created substantial benefits but these have come at the cost of increasing dominance of a few companies, which is limiting competition and consumer choice and innovation", Furman said.

An independent review led by Harvard Professor Jason Furman, who was chief economic adviser to President Barack Obama's White House, has cautioned that the tech giants have become increasingly dominant. "Some say this is inevitable or even desirable".

Noting that more than a dozen bodies - including the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) and the Information Commissioners' Office (ICO) - have a remit that spans digital, the Lords have told government that the Digital Authority would be "an internal centre of expertise on digital trends which helps to scan the horizon for emerging risks and gaps in regulation".

It is also vital that Government recognises the global nature of the tech sector and does not seek to work in isolation. European Union competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager has slapped whopping fines on Google and ordered Apple to pay back billions in back taxes.

Recommendations include setting up a new "digital markets unit" to give people more control over their data and giving more power to regulators to tackle illegal anti-competitive practices.

Britain's financial secretary, Philip Hammond, said the government would respond later this year to the report's recommendations, any of which must be approved by Britain's Parliament to take effect. That would let people move or share their personal information if they switch to a new digital service.

The new unit should give people more control over their data by enabling people to switch between platforms more easily, and should also develop a code of conduct.

In addition, the review urges the CMA to launch an inquiry into the digital advertising market, which it states is dominated by two major players and suffers from a lack of transparency.

"Its central conclusions that digital markets only work well if they are supported with strong pro-competition policies, corroborates a number of the findings of my committee's report into disinformation and "fake news" published in February", he said.