Nov 27, 2020 - Technology

U.K. to launch new watchdog next year to police digital giants

Photo: Muhammed Selim Korkutata/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

The U.K. government said on Friday that it will establish next year a Digital Markets Unit, which will enforce forthcoming "pro-competition" regulations aimed at curbing some of the digital platforms like Google and Facebook.

Why it matters: This is the latest move by a government to respond to growing objections to the size and power these companies have amassed.

  • The new unit will be part of the Competition and Markets Authority, which published in July a report on online platforms and digital advertising markets, and will start operating in April 2021.
  • The upcoming "code of conduct" the new unit will create and enforce will establish parameters for the expectations users can have from these services and promote greater data portability, transparency, and even more advertising choice for users.
  • Much of how how the unit will operate, the new regulations, and the penalties still need to be established.

The big picture: Meanwhile, U.S. regulators have filed or are working on antitrust cases against these same companies, while the European Union unveiled this week new regulations to give users more control over their data.

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