When it comes to reigning over big tech companies, the European Union (EU) has held the mantle since the adoption of the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) in April 2016. At its core, the regulation ensures that companies collect user data legally under strict conditions and that this data is protected against abuse and misuse. The regulations also give users more control over their data. Also Read – How to Change Your Password Autofill Settings on Android
More recently, the EU has made it mandatory for all original equipment manufacturers to include a USB-Type-C port in their devices to reduce e-waste and consumers can reuse their old chargers even when they buy new devices. While many smartphone makers already ship their devices with USB Type-C ports, Apple does not. This makes the new mandate particularly difficult for the company which has managed to differentiate its products from the Android and Windows ecosystem via its Lightning port. Now, the European Parliament has approved two new laws that tackle issues that affect the software side of things, namely data and services. Also Read – Microsoft Outlook Hacks: How to Add and Use a Shared Mailbox
The European Parliament passed legislation endorsing and enacting the Digital Services Act (DSA) and the Digital Markets Act (DMA). Companies face fines of up to 10% of annual worldwide revenue for DMA violations and 6% for DSA violations Also Read – India Creates Ecosystem to Empower Social Media: Union IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw
Digital Services Act
This legislation focuses on the measures that digital service providers, which include social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter and marketplaces such as Amazon, to curb the spread of misinformation on their platforms. It also puts checks and balances on targeted advertising, especially advertising aimed at children. Here are the highlights of the Digital Services Act:
— The law focuses on the introduction of new measures by digital service providers to combat illegal content online. It also requires tech companies to respond quickly by removing unauthorized information and content from their platforms, such as content inciting violence, while respecting basic user rights.
— It also obliges online marketplaces to strengthen traceability on their platforms to guarantee the security of products and services. Under the rule, businesses were asked to carry out random checks to ensure the same.
— The law also requires companies to make it easier for users to challenge their content moderation decision.
— In addition, this legislation prohibits misleading practices and certain types of targeted advertising, such as those targeting children and advertising based on sensitive data.
“So-called ‘dark schemes’ and deceptive practices aimed at manipulating user choices will also be banned,” the European Parliament wrote in a press release.
“These platforms will also have to offer users the choice not to receive recommendations based on profiling. They will also need to facilitate access to their data and algorithms for authorities and approved researchers,” he added.
This law will come into force in the EU from 1 January 2024.
Digital Markets Act
This legislation puts pressure on big tech companies to ensure a fairer trading environment. It also prevents companies from monopolizing the market and using their stronghold to promote their own products at the expense of others. It also aims to promote interoperability between chat apps, which will give users more choice. Here are the highlights of the Digital Markets Act:
— This legislation obliges large online platforms (platforms whose dominant online position makes them difficult for consumers to avoid) in order to ensure a fairer trading environment and more services to consumers. In effect, it forces tech companies to offer a similar weighting to competing products from smaller companies.
— It also guarantees small businesses access to the data they generate on the gatekeeper platform for the purpose of promoting their own offers. It also allows third-party platforms to bypass big tech companies and communicate directly with its customers.
— This rule also prevents large tech companies from ranking their own services or products more favorably than other third parties on their platforms.
– It also ensures that users can easily uninstall preloaded apps on their devices and use third-party apps and app stores, which many companies do not allow.
— It also prevents big tech companies from processing users’ personal data for targeted advertising purposes, unless consent is explicitly granted.
The EU can impose fines of up to 10% of a company’s total worldwide turnover in the previous financial year if it is found to have breached the Digital Markets Act. In the event of repeated non-compliance, a penalty of up to 20% of a company’s total worldwide turnover can be charged.
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