EU agency moves to curb US tech giants : Privacy watchdog bloc's push to impose new tough rules.

BRUSSELS : EU privacy watchdog EDPS on Wednesday backed the block's push to curb the power of Apple, Amazon, Alphabet until Google and Facebook via new tough rules and suggested more safeguards to boost users' privacy rights.

Unveiled by EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vesager and EU industry chief Thierry Breton in December last year, the two sets of rules are known as the Digital Markets Act [DMA] and the Digital Services Act [DSA]

DMA takes aim at online gatekeepers, which will be subject to a list of dos such as sharing some data with rivals and regulators and don'ts among them not favouring their own services on their platforms.

DSA requires large online platforms and other Internet players to do more to tackle illegal content, be more transparent about political advertising on their platforms.

DMA fines can be as much as 10% of global turnover and 6% for DSA breaches.

''The EDPS welcomes the [DMA] proposal, as it seeks to promote fair and open markets and the fair processing of personal data,'' The EU watchdog, which ensures that EU institutions comply with the block's privacy rules, said in an opinion.

Its comments could encourage privacy advocates and EU lawmakers to push for a tougher line.

EDPS said gatekeepers should provide an easy and accessible way for users to consent or decline the use of their personal data by the companies for other services, and that there should be tests to ensure personal data is effectively anonymous.

On the DSA, the agency said profiling of users for content moderation purposes should be banned and that online targeted advertising should be phased out and banned in the case of pervasive tracking while some data should be shielded from targeted advertising.

The proposed European Commission rules will need to be discussed with EU countries and EU lawmakers before they become law, a process which will take 16-24 months. [Reuters]


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