The European Union has this week passed the Digital Markets Act (DMA), setting out fresh restrictions on big tech gatekeepers and limiting their ability to enclose the open web.
The DMA will target providers of “core platform services” such as social networks or search engines, with a market capitalization of at least 75 billion euro or an annual turnover of 7.5 billion.
This means that the DMA explicitly targets the anti-competitive market practices of tech gatekeepers like Google, Apple and Facebook, setting out fresh rules for interoperability and personal data, with the ability to impose substantial fines if these rules are broken.
Movement for an Open Web (MOW) welcomes this as a substantial and significant step forward for tech regulation, beginning to dismantle the walled gardens that have been constructed by tech gatekeepers that have stifled competition and harmed smaller businesses.
However, the passing of the DMA is not a magic wand; the law will be unlikely to come into effect before 2023, and market harms are ongoing.
MOW has previously highlighted the dire need for improving the speed of antitrust enforcement and utilising interim actions to protect consumers and businesses. Furthermore, MOW has voiced concern over the influence of big tech gatekeepers over standards bodies like the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) – an issue that still needs to be addressed.
Issues with the structure and shape of web standards and regulation are complex; a multifaceted approach is needed to truly tackle these problems and protect the open web.
Tim Cowen, leading antitrust lawyer at Prieskel and Co. said: “This new law is supposed to be faster than current law; but we know that there is no such thing as faster law – only faster or slower enforcement. All eyes now on the enforcers.”
James Rosewell, Director of Movement for an Open Web, said: “W3C and Internet Engineering Task Force are the crucible for big tech collusion. Google and Apple are not the same as the majority of web participants. The European Commission need to turn their attention to standards bodies to expedite effective enforcement.”
Header image courtesy of Christian Lue via Unsplash (Licensed for free use under the Unsplash license)