wordpress blog stats
Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

UK launches new watchdog to reign in Big Tech, bring about ‘pro-competition’ regime

The United Kingdom has launched the Digital Markets Unit (DMU), a part of its competition regulator, the government announced on Wednesday. The DMU will be responsible for reigning Big Tech companies such as Google and Facebook. The government, in a statement said, the “pro-competition” regime will help curb the dominance of tech giants in the UK.

The DMU’s imminent formation was announced in November 2020. It was supposed to enforce a new code of conduct to ensure “acceptable behaviour” by tech giants, with a focus consumer data safety and portability between platforms, among other things. At the time, the government had said the DMU could also be given powers to suspend, block and reverse decisions of tech giants in order for them to comply with the code.

While the government is yet to pass a law to give the DMU statutory status — which will be done this year —, it has asked to get started in a “shadow non-statutory form”. “The DMU […] will oversee plans to oversee plans to give consumers more choice and control over their data, promote online competition and crack down on unfair practices which can often leave businesses and consumers with less choice and more expensive goods and services,” the Wednesday announcement read.

  • Codes of conduct for platforms: The DMU has been asked to look into how codes of conduct could be used to govern the relationship between digital platforms and groups such as small businesses, which rely on the former to advertise and reach their customers. “[The DMU] will take a sector neutral approach in examining the role of platforms across a range of digital markets, with a view of promoting competition.”
  • Relationship with news publishers: The government has also asked the DMU to look into a code that would govern the relationship between platforms and news publishers, “to ensure they are as fair and reasonable as possible”. This code would presumably look into revenue sharing agreements between publishers and platforms such as Google and Facebook, something Australia has done with its News Media Bargaining Code; a similar discussion has begun in India as well, with the subject being raised in Parliament last month.

Digital secretary Oliver Dowden said in a statement that the launch of the DMU would pave way for the development was good for consumers, and would support the news industry, “which is vital to freedom of expression and our democratic values”. Business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said, “Our new, unashamedly pro-competition regime will help to curb the dominance of tech giants, unleash a wave of innovation throughout the market and ensure smaller firms aren’t pushed out.”

The UK said it would hold meeting with tech and digital ministers of the G7 grouping on the matter of digital competition this month to build consensus and coordination. “As countries around the world grapple with these issues, the unit will coordinate with international partners so the UK remains a global leader in shaping the debate in this area.”

Dominance of Google, Facebook under scrutiny

The core focus of the DMU’s work will likely be driven by the findings of a report by the UK’s competition regulator, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), from July 2020. The CMA had found that Google has significant market power in the general search and search advertising markets, while Facebook has significant market power in the social media and display advertising markets. Both companies accounted for 80% of all spending on digital advertising in 2019 in the UK. It found evidence of a lack of competition in these markets, leading to reduced innovation, reduced quality and lack of consumer control.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Also read:

Written By

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.

Views

News

The DSCI's guidelines are patient-centric and act as a data privacy roadmap for healthcare service providers.

News

In this excerpt from the book, the authors focus on personal data and autocracies. One in particular – Russia.  Autocracies always prioritize information control...

News

By Jai Vipra, Senior Resident Fellow at Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy The use of new technology, including facial recognition technology (FRT) by police...

News

By Stella Joseph, Prakhil Mishra, and Yash Desai The Government of India circulated proposed amendments to the Consumer Protection (E-Commerce) Rules, 2020 (“E-Commerce Rules”) which...

News

By Rahul Rai and Shruti Aji Murali A little less than a year since their release, the Consumer Protection (E-commerce) Rules, 2020 is being amended....

You May Also Like

News

Rajesh Kumar* doesn’t have many enemies in life. But, Uber, for which he drives a cab everyday, is starting to look like one, he...

News

By Aroon Deep and Aditya Chunduru You’re reading it here first: Twitter has complied with government requests to censor 52 tweets that mostly criticised...

Advert

135 job openings in over 60 companies are listed at our free Digital and Mobile Job Board: If you’re looking for a job, or...

News

Google has released a Google Travel Trends Report which states that branded budget hotel search queries grew 179% year over year (YOY) in India, in...

MediaNama is the premier source of information and analysis on Technology Policy in India. More about MediaNama, and contact information, here.

© 2008-2021 Mixed Bag Media Pvt. Ltd. Developed By PixelVJ

Subscribe to our daily newsletter
Name:*
Your email address:*
*
Please enter all required fields Click to hide
Correct invalid entries Click to hide

© 2008-2021 Mixed Bag Media Pvt. Ltd. Developed By PixelVJ