Big Tech Compliance Tracker: EU Unveils Drafts Of New Big Tech Regs; Facebook To Move UK Users To California Privacy Agreement Amid Brexit

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Here’s the latest news from the technology industry, which is coming under increasing scrutiny from governments in the U.S., the U.K. and Europe.

EU Unveils First Drafts of Digital Markets and Digital Services Acts

The European Union‘s governing European Commission published drafts of new rules for digital services that would cover social media, digital marketplaces and other platforms.

The proposed Digital Markets Act (DMA) deals with the negative effects of some actions by platforms functioning as “gatekeepers” to a single market, according to the EC. The Digital Services Act (DSA) would encompass binding obligations like “comprehensive protection for users’ fundamental rights online” across the EU bloc that would apply to each digital service that connects customers with content, services or items, authorities said.

“The two proposals serve one purpose: to make sure that we as users have access to a wide choice of safe products and services online. And that businesses operating in Europe can freely and fairly compete online just as they do offline,” top EC regulator Margrethe Vestager said in an announcement.

Facebook to Migrate UK Users to California Privacy Agreement Due to Brexit

Facebook will transition its U.K. users into new agreements with its California headquarters, effectively going around the EU’s stringent privacy regulations as Britain prepares to leave the EU. Google unveiled a similar move earlier this year.

Google, Facebook and a number of other Big Techs have based their European subsidiaries in the Republic of Ireland, which is remaining in the EU even as the neighboring U.K. prepares to leave via Brexit.

“Like other companies, Facebook has had to make changes to respond to Brexit and will be transferring legal responsibilities and obligations for U.K. users from Facebook Ireland to Facebook Inc.,” Facebook’s U.K. division said, per Reuters. “There will be no change to the privacy controls or the services Facebook offers to people in the U.K.”

Big Tech Could Face Penalties Under Potential UK Law on Illicit Content

Potential new U.K. regulations could hit TikTok, Twitter and Facebook with fines of as much as 10 percent of turnover if they don’t take down illicit content and contain its spread, Reuters reported.

The country will be introducing the legislation in 2021 — a move that could bring about the blocking of sites that contravene the new regulations.

“We are entering a new age of accountability for tech to protect children and vulnerable users, to restore trust in this industry, and to enshrine in law safeguards for free speech,” said British Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden, per Reuters.

Facebook Ad Criticizes Apple Over Privacy Changes

Facebook is slamming Apple in an advertisement that contends the iPhone maker’s upcoming privacy modifications to its mobile operating system will negatively impact consumers and make the internet “much more expensive,” CNET reported.

During its Worldwide Developers Conference earlier in 2020, Apple unveiled a number of new privacy updates for iOS, such as an App Tracking Transparency function. That would make individuals have to agree to allow apps to harness their data, instead of being required to tell them not to do so.

FTC Seeks Details on Data Collection Methods From Youtube, Twitter and Other Big Techs

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is ordering nine social media firms and streaming platforms to turn over details about how they collect data.

The commission voted 4-1 this month to issue such orders to Amazon, YouTube, WhatsApp, Twitter, Snap, Reddit, Facebook, Discord and ByteDance (operator of TikTok).

The information requested has to do with the manner in which data is taken in, distribution is determined, measurements are affected and teens and children impacted. Firms have to provide responses within 45 days.

Google Wins EU Approval for $1.2 Billion Fitbit Purchase

Google has received the green light from the EU to complete its $2.1 billion acquisition of Fitbit. The move comes as watchdogs in the bloc are examining methods to prevent U.S. Big Tech firms from overextending their dominance of the markets.

Bloomberg reported that the EC indicated that Google’s vow to retain access to competitors’ health and fitness programs and equipment manufacturers for a decade took away qualms regarding the purchase.

“We can approve the proposed acquisition of Fitbit by Google because the commitments will ensure that the market for wearables and the nascent digital health space will remain open and competitive,” top EC regulator Margrethe Vestager said in a press release.

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