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April 25, 2023

With New Legal Powers, Britain Will Take on Big Tech

The legislation will strengthen consumer protections

Today, Britain said it would introduce a new law to rein in the power of big tech companies like Google (GOOGL.O), Facebook (META.O) and Amazon (AMZN.O). The legislation will also enable consumers to opt out of online subscriptions and tackle fake reviews.

Several years ago, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) established a dedicated Digital Markets Unit to oversee new markets, such as social media. However, its remit has been lacking legal "teeth." Upon passing by parliament, the bill will give the DMU new powers over tech companies with a global turnover of 25 billion pounds ($31.2 billion) and a British turnover of 1 billion pounds or more.

As part of its efforts to counter big tech's dominance, the European Union last year enacted its own law, despite fierce opposition from Google, Apple, and others. As a result of the planned British law, the CMA will be able to tailor rules to stop tech companies from unfairly disadvantaging small businesses and consumers. Customers could, for example, be told they have more choices and transparency. According to the report, they could be fined up to 10% of global turnover if they violate the rules.

“Digital markets offer huge benefits, but only if competition enables businesses of all shapes and sizes the opportunity to succeed," she said. "This bill is a legal framework fit for the digital age.”

- says CMA chief executive Sarah Cardell

A "watershed moment" could be created in protect consumers and ensure the British economy benefits from digital markets under the bill, according to CMA chief executive Sarah Cardell.

Neil Hodgson Coyle
Neil Hodgson-Coyle
Editorial chief at TechNews180
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