European Parliament backs tough new rules to curb US tech giants

The logos of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google in a photo / photo file combination

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BRUSSELS, Dec. 15 (Reuters) – EU lawmakers voted on Wednesday to strengthen draft rules to curb US tech giants, including extending the scope to their retail businesses and business users outside Europe, as part of their common position in the forthcoming negotiations with EU countries.

The Digital Markets Act (DMA), unveiled by EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager last December, sets a list of dos and don’ts for US tech giants appointed as online gatekeepers with fines of up to 10% of worldwide turnover for violations, a first.

Vestager’s proposal targets Amazon (AMZN.O), Apple (AAPL.O), the Alphabet unit (GOOGL.O) Google and Facebook (FB.O), but the European Parliament wants to extend it to the travel site booking .com, to Chinese Alibaba and online retailer Zalando (ZALG.DE).

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EU lawmakers also want the rules to apply to web browsers, virtual assistants and connected TV, adding to Vestager’s list of online intermediation services, social media, search engines, webcasting systems. operation, online advertising services, cloud computing and video sharing services.

The lawmakers’ proposal would also make it easier for users to switch default settings of their services and products to competitors.

They want the Commission to do an annual report on the gatekeepers, with the option for lawmakers to come up with inquiries into new services and products.

Vestager applauded the vote.

“This sends a clear message that in our European democracy, it is not for BigTech to set the rules of the game, it is for lawmakers,” she said in a tweet.

Lawmakers will now have to reconcile their proposal with that of EU countries and the Commission next year before the draft rules can become law.

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Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by David Gregorio

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