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Stricter rules for big tech and more rights for consumers in digital, thanks to the S&Ds

Date

08 Jul 2022

Sections

Innovation & Enterprise

Thanks to the S&Ds, the EU will finally have adequate and up to date rules to deal with the realities of digital markets and services. The S&D Group voted in favour of political agreements on the Digital Markets Act (DMA) and Digital Services Act (DSA) in today’s plenary and thus replaced the more than 20 years old legislation currently in place. Among the S&D Group’s greatest achievements are the ban of targeted online advertising on minors and interoperability of messenger services without the consumer being forced to download all messenger applications on his phone. These deals have been reached after intensive negotiations between the European Parliament and the member states in the Council of the EU. The Council has already adopted them a couple of weeks ago and it’s now the turn of the members of the European Parliament. As a result of the successful vote today, we will have the new EU legislation in the world of digital already by the end of this year.

Christel Schaldemose, S&D MEP and EP negotiator on the Digital Services Act (DSA), said:

“We want to feel safe online, just like we want to feel safe when we are offline, on the street or at any public place. This is why my group and I spared no efforts to achieve better protection for consumers, including for the most vulnerable among us. This goes far beyond the ban of online advertising on minors and dark patterns. We included measures to tackle the very serious problem of cyber violence, like revenge porn or cyber bullying. We filled a serious gap in the EU legislation and opened the black box of algorithms for the very large online platforms and search engines. From now on, they will have to assess any negative effects on democracy, the protection of public health, as well as behavioural addictions or other serious negative consequences to the users and societies.”

René Repasi, S&D MEP and negotiator on the Digital Markets Act (DMA), said:

“We had to put an end to the fact that big tech companies control access to a market that they dominate and for which they write their own rules. This required us to put the end user back into the driver’s seat when controlling what happens with his/her data. A major achievement in the DMA that my group and I are very proud of is therefore the interoperability obligation for messenger services. This means that the DMA makes it possible for users to chat using Viber with contacts on Whatsapp or Facebook Messenger without the need to install all three apps on their phones and then accept all their unfriendly privacy general conditions. We also prevent ‘dark patterns’ (a behaviour also known as ‘cookies hell’) where you are almost forced to accept selling out your personal data if you only want to continue browsing, whereas the option of refusing to give your consent is not as visible as the option of acceptance. This will considerably improve our privacy in online markets thanks to the new provisions in the DMA. Moreover, the new rules had to be tough in terms of enforcement. Instead of only relying on fines, the DMA gives the Commission, in the event of a continuous disregard of the DMA obligations, the possibility to prohibit so-called ‘killer acquisitions’ (buying innovative uprising competitors) and to even break up gatekeepers. These are painful sanctions that go beyond anything that we currently have in EU law in terms of sanctions, and will change the behaviour of gatekeepers.

 

 

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