Technology

The EU consumes the fence to Google, Apple, Meta and Amazon

Google and Facebook
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The European Union’s siege of Google, Apple, Meta and Amazon was completed this week with the first of the two laws with which Brussels wants to break the business model of the big technology companies.

After confirming that the existing free competition rules have not prevented the abuse of power by the platforms, in little more than a year since the European Commission presented the proposal, the EU approved the new antitrust law for the Internet giants.

And it is that, until now, Brussels has opened four cases against Google, as many against Amazon, three against Apple and one against Meta.

“What we have learned in these years is that we can correct in specific cases, we can sanction illegal behavior, but when things become systematic, then we also need regulation,” said the vice president of the Community Executive for the Digital Age, Margrethe Vestager. , at the press conference after the agreement reached last night.

The European institutions agreed on the directive that regulates mobile application stores, Internet searches, restricts the use that Internet giants make of personal data and modifies the rules of personalized advertising, the main business of the platforms.

When the regulations take effect next year, users will have to be able to remove mobile applications that a company has installed by default on mobile devices, for example the Google Chrome browser on phones running the Android operating system.

They will also have to have the option of installing a mobile application store other than the one offered by the device brand, so that, for example, Android users can purchase the Apple App Store and vice versa.

Internet giants will also be unable to promote their own products on search services and will be forced to allow users to purchase goods directly from other companies’ websites.

The regulations prohibit companies from combining the personal data they acquire from users through their multiple services (that Meta crosses the information it obtains from its WhatsApp messaging service), unless they have the express consent of the clients.

Regarding personalized advertising, users will also have to give their consent on the way in which the companies collect and cross-reference their personal data.

However, the European Parliament has not managed to get the ban on personalized ads to minors to go ahead, a measure that could be included in the digital services law, the second of the laws with which Brussels persecutes technology companies, about to be agreed and that requires transparency in the operation of the algorithms

According to the directive, the messaging services of the large platforms will have to be compatible with smaller platforms.

Obligations that companies with a market value of at least 75,000 million euros will have to comply with and in the event that they fail to comply, the European Commission can impose fines of up to 20% of their annual turnover and even fragment the company, if they violate three times the norm in eight years.

The rule “will have a significant impact”, Google said in a statement, which assured that they “support many of the ambitions” of the directive “around consumer choice and interoperability”, but noted that “some of the rules” they can reduce the innovation and choice available to Europeans.

“This is a great moment for consumers and companies that have suffered from the harmful practices of big technology,” said the deputy director general of the European Consumer Association (BEUC), Ursula Pachl.

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