As the EU Battles Big Tech Who Wins?
The rest of the world has been in dismay as the EU battles big tech. For the greater part of three years, Big Tech and the EU leaders in Brussels have been trying to outwit each other, mostly.
As the EU battles big Tech, social media has been the worst hit.
In the latest salvo of events, Facebook Inc. has disabled some features for its Messenger and Instagram users.
It comes as EU member states are implementing the 2002 Privacy and Electronic Communications Directive (ePrivacy Directive).
It appears the directive is much stricter in terms of the requirements for data usage across the board.
The EU has been known to be one of those parties that have been extremely proactive in their regulation of technology companies.
The EU has done this Before
The EU authorities are especially known for their anti-trust stance and stiff penalties.
In 2017, the EU fined Google about $2.7 Billion.
The fine is higher than most of its previous fines to technology giants.
The anti-trust regulator stated that at the time was that Google was favoring its services over other rivals.
The same anti-trust regulator also put its foot down on Apple’s $14.5 billion tax commitment in Ireland.
However, the new draft law may be the law to ensure that the EU achieves its aims.
The Brussels authorities also recently unveiled a new law that could change how digital businesses work.
The EU Battles Big Tech with New Draft Law
The EU recently unveiled a new draft law that could finally define how the biggest technology companies treat smaller companies and users.
Called the” Digital Companies Act” the draft law defines the biggest technology companies as “Gatekeeper” companies.
Under the new laws, for a company to be a Gatekeeper company, it must meet three benchmarks.
- It must have had an annual turnover in terms of revenue of at least 6.5 billion Euros,
- Or a 65 billion Euro market value,
- And 45 million market users or 10,000 business users in a year,
What’s interesting about the new law is that tech firms that meet these criteria could be fined up to 10% of global turnover if they break the rules.
The EU Battles Big Tech with Yet Another Draft Law
Apart from the act, the EU has also come up with another draft law.
The EU Digital Services Act is an update to the previous decades-old electronic commerce law.
The Act ensures that companies own up for their products and services sold digitally.
Fines according to the act could be up to 6% of the annual turnover.
Both Acts present a shift in Government-tech relations as the EU battles Big Tech.
It also changes the paradigm of big tech operations on a never-seen-before scale.
2021 will be a Year of Government-Tech Wars
Government-tech wars will be at the front burner in 2021.
The UK has followed in the EU’s footsteps and introduced its bills to regulate technology giants.
The reasons for this may not be far-fetched.
Technology is now the biggest industry in the world by all metrics rivaling even the energy companies.
We now have technology components in almost everything that we do.
The problem with such a scenario is that there are only a few companies that have so much power.
In a bid to balance this, governments are now looking for ways of reigning them in.
And as the EU battles big tech, the rest of the world is watching and learning.
They (the EU) may be the leaders in creating a model for Governments to regulate technology companies.
Once such laws prove to be effective, we will see other Governments follow suit in bringing the tech wizards to heel.
Technology Has Changed Our Lives for the Better
Without a doubt, technology has changed our lives for the better.
We live in an interconnected world where global commerce is possible in seconds.
We can share information without having to depend on snail-mail or even carrier pigeons, for instance.
It has led to an improvement in living standards across the world.
Events occur seamlessly.
The globally coordinated response to the COVID-19 pandemic, for instance, wouldn’t have been successful without the use of technology.
The only problem that exists now is how to take back this massive amount of power that has been placed in the hands of a few.
As the EU battles big tech, we shall see several things happen.
The big tech companies are going to fight back in the Courts.
Governments will also encourage new tech start-ups that will become “up-starts” to upstage the technology companies.
The new decade will be the one where the tech industry matures.
It will be great to see what happens as this occurs!