The U.S. and European Union Strategize Global Tech Policies

The U.S. and European Union are seeking to establish joint policies that advance cooperation and democratic approaches to trade, technology, and security on both sides of the Atlantic. The second meeting of the U.S.-EU Trade and Technology Council (TTC) — May 15-16 in Saclay, near Paris — emphasized how Washington, Brussels and other free-market democracies should develop a joint response to the challenges presented by dictatorships and their controlled economies. In addition to semiconductor supply chain issues, topics including China’s digital clout, export controls for technology IP and human rights were discussed. Continue reading The U.S. and European Union Strategize Global Tech Policies

EU Hits Apple with Antitrust Objections Over Mobile Payments

European regulators on Monday hit Apple with an antitrust charge, alleging it has created a “closed system” for contactless mobile payments. The so-called statement of objections says the iPhone maker has abused its market power by favoring its Apple Pay for mobile contactless payments to the detriment of third-party services like PayPal, which reportedly helped initiate the charges. The European Commission says it has reason to believe Apple withheld access to its NFC inputs in order to suppress other mobile-wallet app developers from competing with Apple Pay, which the Commission called “a closed ecosystem.” Continue reading EU Hits Apple with Antitrust Objections Over Mobile Payments

Data Act Aims to Protect EU Consumers in Smart Device Era

The European Commission has proposed new rules on who can use and access data generated across economic sectors in the European Union. The proposed legislation would require Amazon, Microsoft, Google and other cloud service providers as well as those who harvest data to establish safeguards preventing non-EU governments from illegally accessing EU consumer information. “We want to give consumers and companies even more control over what can be done with their data, clarifying who can access data and on what terms,” said Margrethe Vestager, the EC’s commissioner for competition, in announcing the Data Act. Continue reading Data Act Aims to Protect EU Consumers in Smart Device Era

U.S. and EU Conduct Their First Trade Tech Council Meeting

The European Union and United States agreed yesterday on strengthening cooperation regarding several major global concerns, including a “rebalancing” of supply chains for semiconductors, new approaches to regulating international tech companies, and practical models for contending with “non-market, trade-distortive policies and practices” (although China was not singled out in the group’s statement). During their first meeting in Pittsburgh yesterday, officials from the newly formed U.S.-EU Trade and Technology Council (TTC) promised to work together on the development of artificial intelligence and screening interests in sensitive dual-use technologies. Continue reading U.S. and EU Conduct Their First Trade Tech Council Meeting

EU’s Vestager Calls for Aligned Global Regulation of Big Tech

Margrethe Vestager, executive vice president of the European Commission for A Europe Fit for the Digital Age, is calling for greater global alignment on tech regulation, noting “we do not have a global competition enforcer, but we have global companies.” Vestager added she was “really encouraged” by the Biden administration’s efforts to take similar actions in the U.S. with the 72 actions listed in his recent executive order that focused on Big Tech’s collection of data, surveillance practices and acquisitions of startups. Continue reading EU’s Vestager Calls for Aligned Global Regulation of Big Tech

European Union to Conduct Antitrust Investigation of Google

The European Union has launched a formal antitrust investigation into Alphabet’s Google, after the European Commission, its main antitrust enforcer, probed the issue informally since at least 2019. The formal investigation will examine numerous allegedly anticompetitive practices involving how the tech giant brokers ads and shares user data with advertisers across websites and mobile apps. In addition to reviewing issues covered by U.S. states, such as Google favoring its own ad-buying tools, the probe will cover new territory. Continue reading European Union to Conduct Antitrust Investigation of Google

European Union Plans Framework for Secure Digital Identities

The European Commission, the executive branch of the European Union, announced a proposal yesterday to create a European Digital Identity system that would “be available to all EU citizens, residents and businesses in the EU.” The goal is to enable citizens who are interested “to prove their identity and share electronic documents from their European Digital Identity wallets with the click of a button on their phone.” In addition, these citizens would “be able to access online services with their national digital identification,” that would be recognized throughout European Union’s Member States. Continue reading European Union Plans Framework for Secure Digital Identities

Amazon Wins Appeal Against European Commission Decision

A European Union court struck down a 2017 European Commission decision ordering Amazon to pay $300 million (250 million Euros) in taxes, saying that regulators failed to prove the company had an illegal advantage and that its analysis was “incorrect in several respects.” The Commission’s executive vice president Margrethe Vestager has spearheaded a campaign against several Big Tech companies, including Apple and Google. It was her second recent defeat after the General Court overturned a 2016 decision against Apple. Continue reading Amazon Wins Appeal Against European Commission Decision

Valve Sued by Indie Game Developer Over Steam Store Rules

Independent developer Wolfire Games, a digital storefront for bundled games, has filed a lawsuit against Valve, claiming that the 30 percent commission it charges in its Steam Store is monopolistic and anticompetitive. According to Wolfire, Valve controls about 75 percent of the entire PC gaming market, earning an estimated $6 billion in annual revenue from its 30 percent commission. The lawsuit follows Epic Games’ suit against Apple, currently in court, and Microsoft’s decision to slash its own commission fee. Continue reading Valve Sued by Indie Game Developer Over Steam Store Rules

European Commission Targets Apple with Antitrust Charges

In the wake of an initial complaint from Spotify, the European Commission has levied antitrust charges against Apple for breaking EU competition rules regarding its App Store policies. More specifically, the EU focused on two rules, one requiring developers to use its in-app purchase system, for which it charges a 30 percent cut, and a second not allowing developers to let users know about other purchasing options. The Commission found that the rules “distort competition” and result in higher prices for consumers. Continue reading European Commission Targets Apple with Antitrust Charges

EU Releases Its Draft Policy to Regulate Artificial Intelligence

The European Union issued a 108-page policy that establishes rules to govern the use of artificial intelligence, setting limits on its use in everything from bank lending and school enrollment to self-driving cars and hiring decisions. Use of artificial intelligence by law enforcement and court systems, considered “high risk” because of the potential to threaten safety and fundamental rights, is also regulated. Live facial recognition in public spaces would be banned except in cases of national security “and other purposes.” Continue reading EU Releases Its Draft Policy to Regulate Artificial Intelligence

European Union Earmarks $150 Billion for New Tech Initiatives

As part of a $2 trillion recovery package, the European Union is investing $150+ billion in “Digital Compass” to boost advanced technologies and narrow the gap with the U.S. and Asia. One goal is to produce at least 20 percent of the world’s semiconductors by 2030. In 2020, said the European Commission, the EU produced 10 percent. In 2019, the EU debuted a public-private cloud-computing project, Gaia-X to increase self-reliance and, in 2017, the European Battery Alliance to develop electricity-storage technologies. Continue reading European Union Earmarks $150 Billion for New Tech Initiatives

EU Proposes Two New Laws in Its Effort to Regulate Big Tech

The European Union’s executive branch issued drafts of two bills that would hike fines for illegal content and anticompetitive behavior up to 6 percent or 10 percent of annual worldwide revenue and even break up Big Tech firms to stop “competitive abuses.” Although the bills don’t mention any firms by name, they could be applied to Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google. The UK, which is no longer part of the EU, has similar legislation in the works that would fine abusers up to 10 percent of annual global revenue. Continue reading EU Proposes Two New Laws in Its Effort to Regulate Big Tech

European Union Plans to Announce Regulations for Big Tech

On December 2, European Commission EVP and commissioner for competition Margrethe Vestager and European commissioner for internal market Thierry Breton plan to announce the new rules governing powerful online companies. Among the draft rules of the Digital Services Act and Digital Markets Act, Big Tech companies will have to share data with rivals and regulators. Alphabet chief executive Sundar Pichai also apologized to Breton over a leaked document revealing his company’s proposed tactics against the European Union’s new, tougher rules. Continue reading European Union Plans to Announce Regulations for Big Tech

European Commission Files Antitrust Charges Against Amazon

After months of anticipation, the European Union, led by competition chief Margrethe Vestager, is finally filing antitrust charges against Amazon, with the belief it has enough hard evidence to charge the Big Tech company. The EU claims that Amazon used data to build copycat products that undermines independent businesses, especially in France and Germany. EU regulators also have an ongoing investigation into Amazon’s alleged practice of favorable treatment for its “Buy Box” and “Prime Label” features. Continue reading European Commission Files Antitrust Charges Against Amazon