A lens on Europe

There is no doubt that the tech world has welcomed huge possibilities and change. With this power, big tech giants have stormed onto the scene. However, the European Union is acting against these giants.

Google was fined $1.7bn for restraining advertising competition and the EU is discussing a new digital copyright law. The EU aims to give individuals control over their own information and the profits from this whilst allowing competition within the tech firms. It will not just be the giants who are leading the way. If this works, the economy will be affected, millions of EU citizens will benefit and ensure that the tech giants take responsibility for their decision making.

What are the problems with the tech giants?

Current allegations include destabilising democracy through misinformation and abusing individual rights via privacy. This is increasingly as the emerging technology artificial intelligence has come to the forefront.

Why is this a benefit?

The EU’s standards are often copied in the emerging world. However, 15 of the 20 big tech firms are in America. Only one is in Europe. It may be that the lack of tech firms in Europe allows a more objective stance by regulators and the court.

  • Regulators = less concerned about the lobbying
  • Court = have an up-to-date view on the economy

How has Europe Approached the Tech Giants?

Before explaining Europe’s approach, it is useful to note the options which were dismissed:

  • capping tech firms’ profits
  • break-ups because network effects would allow these to become dominant again.

There are two main approaches of the European Union

  • Draws on the member’s culture

There should be an assertion that you have sovereignty over data which concerns you. Therefore, the GDPR was such a huge implementation last year, and why Serviceteam IT are still writing blogs about it. Additionally, users can easily switch between providers to a firm which has a better finance or ethical record.

For example, the UK has Open Banking. This system allows customers to share their data on their spending habits, regular payments etc. with other providers. The tech firms may have to do the same2.

  • Using its legal powers to boost competition

Firms cannot prevent competition. This means equal treatment for all tech companies, especially Giant rivals.

For example, a German proposal says that a dominant firm must share bulk, anonymised data with competitors so that the economy can function properly instead of being ruled by tech Giants. Therefore, every transport firm would have access to Uber’s information about traffic patterns.

What is the goal?

Consumers should be leading the economy. There are signs that America is beginning to adopt an approach like the European model, but time will tell whether it is a workable solution to the tech giant problem.

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