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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…

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