What you need to know
- The UK is creating a new agency called the Digital Markets Unit (DMU) to regulate large tech companies such as Google and Facebook.
- The new antitrust unit will begin scrutinizing big tech companies from April 2021.
- It will be part of the UK's Competition and Markets Authority.
The UK government has announced that it plans to create a new antitrust unit called the "Digital Markets Unit" to regulate tech giants like Google and Facebook (via Engadget). As per the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, the unit will enforce "a new code to govern the behavior of platforms that currently dominate the market." The antitrust unit will be part of the existing Competition and Markets Authority and is expected to start working in April 2021.
Online platforms bring huge benefits for businesses and society. But there is growing consensus in the UK and abroad that the concentration of power amongst a small number of tech companies is curtailing growth in the tech sector, reducing innovation, and potentially having negative impacts on the people and businesses that rely on them.
The code hasn't been finalized yet, but it is designed to give consumers greater control over their data and ensure that they are in no way disadvantaged by actions taken by large tech companies. It will also require tech companies to be more transparent about how they use consumers' data and offer a choice to consumers over whether or not they want to receive personalized ads. To rein in leading digital advertising platforms, the Digital Markets Unit may be given powers to block and even reverse decisions made by them.
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