Press Release

UK regulators must now wield existing powers as plug may be pulled on Digital Markets Unit

According to a Financial Times report published this week, the UK Government has stalled on plans to hand enforcement powers to the new Digital Markets Unit. As a result, the newly created Digital Markets Unit (DMU) will be left without additional powers to set rules for leading tech companies and impose fines if those rules are broken.

However, this does not leave regulators at the end of their rope. The DMU already holds enforcement powers under the current remit of the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), which has the capacity to sanction businesses taking part in anti-competitive practices.

Though the UK’s chance to become a world leader on tech regulation has been lost, regulators already have the requisite powers to hold big tech companies to account for monopolistic behavior. Furthermore, the DMU still exists, and necessary further powers could still be handed to it in the future – but time cannot be wasted waiting for this to materialise.

Big tech companies move fast, whilst regulators and governments’ reticence to take necessary action leaves the market overdue for corrective action. Scope still exists for serious and necessary action to be taken with the current regulatory tools, and it is now up to the CMA and DMU to make the best of an imperfect situation.

Header image courtesy of Kvalific via Unsplash (Image licensed for free use under the Unsplash License)