breach EU rules

The European Commission has proposed stricter rules to hold large technology companies, such as Google, Amazon or Facebook , more accountable for unfair practices or abuses, but also to ensure that they remove illegal content from their platforms within a maximum period of one hour if requested by the authorities of a Member State.

The Vice President of the European Commission responsible for Competition, Margrethe Vestager, and the Commissioner for Industry, Thierry Breton, have defended in a press conference that Brussels “is not there to block any company” but it does see it necessary to increase supervision and bring order in the digital transition, to ensure that the rules that apply in the traditional market are also met in the ‘online’ sphere.

For this reason, the Community Executive has designed a package of measures framed in two legislative proposals, one on Digital Services and the other for Digital Markets, which provide fines for non-compliant companies that may reach 6% of the global billing of the one sanctioned with the first norm and 10% with the second.

The objective is to have harmonized rules, precise obligations and better supervision, in addition to ensuring an “agile” execution of the rules and the imposition of “dissuasive sanctions”, Breton summarized, who stressed that during the year of work to prepare the proposal the contacts with the big digital ones has been “almost daily” and they have found a majority willingness to get involved in the improvements.

With regard to sanctions, Breton has said that the Community Executive will prefer not to have to resort to them in the future but that in order to have a robust regulation “there must be sanctions, even if only to protect the vast majority who it does abide by the rules ”.

The Brussels proposal , which has yet to be negotiated with the Twenty-seven and the European Parliament, bets on fines of up to 10% of the company’s turnover in case of serious breaches.

The Commission also proposes that if the infractions are repeated, the company can be forced to take structural measures, including divestment, if there are no more effective alternatives. Another key measure is to prohibit certain abusive practices such as preventing users from uninstalling computer programs or pre-installed applications.

However, Brussels states that the new rules apply only to the main providers that it defines in its project as “guardians” of the network, for which it foresees that criteria are established with which to identify the technological giants and clearly define who should follow these rules.

The Commission, however, could add new names to the list of companies subject to this framework after conducting market research. He also wants the big platforms to be “proactively” involved in certain measures, such as allowing third-party software to function properly and interact with their own services.

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