British Data Regulator Set to Impose Stricter Rules for Tech Companies

It has been revealed in the United Kingdom recently that a special task force, the Digital Markets Unit (DMU), will be established in order to ensure that large Internet-based companies can be properly policed, including Facebook and Google, in order to put allow smaller technology firms more space and protection in relation to the personal data that they can manage.

This announcement come as Brexit process is about to come to an end on December 31 2020. Coincidentally the European Union will also be introducing similar data protection legislation, the Digital Services Act, which will set out specific laws to control the actions of tech giants.

Speaking about this move UK Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden recognised that large tech companies provide “huge benefits for businesses and society” but also commented on that monopolisation of market control by a small number of countries was not healthy for the economy. He said  that “(the) concentration of power amongst a small number of tech companies” was stopping growth and innovation.

Additionally Business Secretary Alok Sharma said, in relation to the creation of the new entity that “(our) new, pro-competition regime for digital markets will ensure consumers have choice, and mean smaller firms aren’t pushed out.”

There was also a statement released by the UK Department for Culture, Media and Sport said the DMU will “govern the behaviour of platforms that currently dominate the market, such as Google and Facebook” and “ensure consumers and small businesses aren’t disadvantaged”.

The introduction of the new body will seek to add consumers great powers to choose if they wish to view personalised advertising or not. It will put in place a new statutory code will aim to make the tech giants “more transparent about the services they provide and how they are using consumers’ data”.

Consumers will also be able to choose whether to see personalised advertising. In addition to this the new body may have the authority to “suspend, block and reverse decisions of tech giants” order them to take actions and impose fines. The UK government said the new code of conduct would also “support the sustainability of the news publishing industry” by forcing online platforms to offer fairer terms to news media.

The aim is to introduce the new body in April 2020.

Both Google and Facebook responded to the announcement of these changes by welcoming them and saying that they would work with the new data protection body.  Google and Facebook are facing mounting pressure internationally to hand a larger share of their advertising revenue to media organisations whose content they use.