An agreement on rules forcing tech giants to monitor content is possible in April, says the EU’s Vestager

Interview with EU cartel boss Margrethe Vestager
FILE PHOTO: Margrethe Vestager, Vice-President of the European Commission, speaks during an interview with Reuters in Brussels, Belgium March 28, 2022. REUTERS/Johanna Geron

March 28, 2022

By Foo Yun Chee

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – A deal between EU countries and EU lawmakers that would require tech giants to do more to tackle content surveillance on their platforms could be agreed next month, EU cartel chief Margrethe Vestager said on Monday.

Vestager proposed the Digital Services Act (DSA) just over a year ago, forcing tech giants to do more about illegal content or face fines of up to 6% of their global revenue.

EU countries and lawmakers are now flogging the details, debating the definition of an online marketplace subject to the rules and criteria for banning targeted advertising.

“There is a very strong dynamic of getting things done. And the leadership of the French Presidency can allow us to finalize the digital services law before the end of April. But if we work hard and are lucky, maybe it’s possible,” Vestager told Reuters in an interview.

Vestager last week secured the green light from EU countries and lawmakers for its other landmark proposal, the Digital Markets Act (DMA), which targets Google, Amazon, Apple, Meta and Microsoft.

The DMA establishes a list of do’s and don’ts and gives companies, known as online gatekeepers, who control access and data on their platforms, six months to comply with the rules. However, companies say this falls short of such complex legislation.

Vestager said there will be no extension because the companies know what anti-competitive practices are.

“Well, I think actually both we in our work and the companies should be very happy that we have six months because it was one of the things that was discussed intensively during the negotiations,” she said.

“And since both the prohibitions and the obligations stem from settled case law, I don’t think any of them come as big surprises.”

When asked if the DMA would cover tech giants outside of the US, Vestager said, “It’s likely, but I don’t know.”

Observers said and Alibaba could fall under the new rules.

(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by Mark Potter) An agreement on rules forcing tech giants to monitor content is possible in April, says the EU’s Vestager


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