Apple, Facebook, WhatsApp… How the new DMA law could change our smartphones

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Apple, Facebook, WhatsApp... How the new DMA law could change our smartphones

On Thursday 24 March, EU Member States, the Commission and the European Parliament reached an agreement on new legislation. Called the Digital Markets Act, it must put an end to the abuse of a dominant position by digital giants. For several months now, the European institutions have been negotiating to find a settlement for the digital markets.

For the French Secretary of State for Digital, Cédric O, it is “the most important economic regulation of recent decadesThe regulation, which is expected to enter into force in January 2023, indeed marks a change in philosophy in the fight against the abuse of large platforms.

This new European legislation aims to put an end to the abuse of a dominant position by the digital giants. After years of running in vain after the offenses of these multinationals in endless legal proceedings, Brussels now wants to act upstream. So there will be twenty rules to respect subject to dissuasive fines.

Which companies are targeted?

The objective is therefore to act quickly and effectively, before abusive behavior has destroyed competition. The target text only the biggest platforms: the Gafam (Google, Apple, Facebook/Meta, Amazon, Microsoft) and perhaps a handful of other groups, such as Booking or TikTok.

The list remains to be defined according to already established criteria of turnover, market capitalization and number of users. DMA regulates the web, but leave “small businesses” alone.

What are the new rules?

The final text of the DMA has yet to be published, but the main lines have already been drawn. Concretely, this piece of legislation aims to promote free competition and openness between ecosystems. It thus provides that Apple and Google, for example, no longer impose certain default applications in their operating system.

The regulation also intends to impose interoperability between services, so that large messaging services can work with smaller messaging services, if they so request. On paper, Telegram users could exchange directly with those of other messengers like Signal.

Another point, without consent, a company will not be able to issue targeted advertising to its users. Some brands will not be able to limit certain technologies to their applications. All pre-installed apps should be able to be uninstalled.

Fine up to 20% of turnover in case of violation

The Digital Markets Act could condemn companies that do not respect it to donate up to 20% of their global turnover to Europe. A novelty “historical” and will stem “the worst practices” in the sector, welcomed the federation of European consumer associations BEUC on Friday.

“Consumers can collectively assert their rights if a company breaks these new rules”, underlined Ursula Pachl, deputy director general of the European Bureau of Consumers’ Unions.

Targeted companies are concerned

The question of the true technical feasibility of these rules is at the heart of the debates. For example, it is not certain that the systems can adapt and collaborate with other independent systems that already exist. Indeed, the messaging services are not all based on the same protocols and are not all equally secure. Arguments brandished by the targeted companies.

Apple thus said it was “concerned” by the agreement around the Digital Markets Act and “certain provisions [qui] will create unnecessary privacy and security vulnerabilities for (his) users, while others will prohibit (him) from charging for intellectual property” in which the company “invests heavily.” A Google spokesperson also expressed concern about the “risks potential for innovation and the variety of choices offered to Europeans” that the text would hover over.

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