Today, a large majority of the European Parliament voted in favour of the Digital Markets Act (DMA) compromise texts. This law will limit the market power of the largest Big Tech companies. MEP Paul Tang (S&D), who was one of the negotiators: “We are probably witnessing the largest lobbying operation Brussels has ever seen. And yet today, parliament has approved a proposal that will drastically limit the market power of tech conglomerates.”
The Digital Markets Act (DMA) was presented a year ago by the European Commission with the aim of making the ongoing abuse of power by Big Tech impossible. Since then, Members of the European Parliament negotiated on seventeen obligations and restrictions that should apply to so-called gatekeepers such as Facebook, Google and Apple. Today the entire European Parliament adopted their negotiation result.
The extensive proposal addresses, among other things, ‘tracking and targeting’ on the internet. Tang thinks this is a necessity: “Tracking ads are a massive violation of our privacy. Moreover, it comes at the expense of traditional media and small and medium-sized enterprises. Facebook and Google put more than 50 cents in their pockets for every euro worth of advertisements. I advocate a ban on tracking ads. In a strong start, that we have decided today, minors should no longer be used as a target group, and sensitive data can’t be used for targeting.”
Two other vital areas parliament has agreed on today are interoperability obligations and tackling aggressive takeovers. Tang: “Interoperability is key to break the power of tech conglomerates. We are breaking systems up by breaking them open, allowing users for instance to communicate from Signal to WhatsApp. In addition, aggressive takeovers make it possible to hold back innovation and competition. The DMA will demand more information about all acquisitions in order to safeguard competition better.”
In January, under the leadership of the French Presidency, the interinstitutional negotiations (“trilogues”) will start with the European Council and European Commission. The DMA is expected to come into effect in 2023.