UK rushes through Digital Markets Act copycat to regulate mostly US big tech

Posted:
in General Discussion

After years of promising legislation against Big Tech firms such as Apple, the UK has now sped up the process to get Digital Markets Act clone passed before its general election.

UK Parliament
UK Parliament



Up to now, the UK's progress on its tub-thumping insistence it will control Big Tech has been slow to the point of ridicule. It announced a government department in 2020, but didn't start it until 2021. Then when it was started with at least 60 staff, the UK literally did not give it powers to do anything, not until 2023.

However, also in 2023, the finally active Digital Markets Unit (DMU) did get going with a Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill. While its stated purpose is to lead to establishing codes of conduct for Big Tech firms, it's a step toward emulating the existing Digital Markets Act in the EU.

That EU law is what has forced Apple to allow third-party App Stores on the iPhone and soon also the iPad. The passing of the law has been followed by the EU launching multiple investigations into Apple that could result in fines.

According to the UK's Press Gazette, the bill will enable the government to fine tech firms 10% of their annual turnover if they are found to abuse their market position. It's not clear how such abuse will be determined, but it will concern whether the firms:

  • Trade on fair and reasonable terms

  • Present to users or potential users any options or default settings in relation to the relevant digital activity in a way that allows those users or potential users to make informed and effective decisions in their own best interests about those options or settings.

  • Give explanations, and a reasonable period of notice, to users or potential users of the relevant digital activity, before making changes in relation to the relevant digital activity where those changes are likely to have a material impact on the users or potential users



So far, it's all big talk. How the details will work has yet to be hammered out.

The bill was, though, just one of very many legislative bills making their way through the UK parliamentary system -- until this week. On May 22, 2024, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak called for a General Election, and that immediately changed proceedings.

The UK's General Election does not have a fixed date like the US Presidential one, it merely has to fall within a certain time. But once its date of July 4, 2024, was set, it also followed that Parliament will be dissolved on May 30, 2024.

Bills cannot be carried over from one Parliament to another, so the UK has been picking which it will rush through, and which it will abandon. Consequently, on May 23, Parliament debated and passed the bill.

"It has been a pretty long ride when one looks back to the beginning of the suite of digital Bills in the past two years," said Lord Clement-Jones (Liberal Democrat) in the debate as detailed in Hansard, "starting with the Online Safety Bill, then the digital markets Bill, and now the non-lamented data protection Bill, and I look forward to further digital legislation in the autumn or the beginning of next year."

"We believe overall that this is a good Bill that takes the first steps to regulating the behaviour of the big tech companies, which is long overdue," said Baroness Jones of Whitchurch (Labour).

For the Conservatives, the party currently in government and responsible for the bill, Lord Offord of Garvel said that it "will be vital in driving growth, innovation and productivity and in protecting consumers."

Following the passing of the bill, the next stage before it enters into law is that it must be approved by the UK monarchy. That approval is scheduled to take place today, May 24, 2024.




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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 20
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,776member
    This is what happens when an early election is called.  There should be some caveat that things passed close to an election can just as quickly be rushed undone by the next Government.
    edited May 24 williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 20
    slow n easyslow n easy Posts: 355member
    I feel so frustrated that Apple doesn't just say "Fuck Europe". There is no monopoly. The U.S. Congress is also trying to say that Apple is a monopoly. That's ridiculous. A monopoly is like when I want to subscribe to cable TV and my only option is Spectrum. If I want cable TV, then I only have one choice and that's it. That's a monopoly. Apple should be able to run their "store" how they feel fit. It's their store. Is the government trying to tell Walmart what they can or cannot put in their store? Are they trying to dictate to Walmart what prices they can charge? If you are not happy with Apple's business practices, then buy a phone from one of a dozen other manufacturers. No one is forcing you against your will to buy an Apple device.
    teejay2012Afarstarwilliamlondonrob53watto_cobraAlex1N
  • Reply 3 of 20
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 3,372member
    I thought brexit was a bad choice, but one potential positive was the UK developing better laws and regulations than the EU. If the UK is just going to copy EU laws, then brexit was even dumber than I thought.
    Afarstarwatto_cobraAlex1N
  • Reply 4 of 20
    danoxdanox Posts: 3,044member
    Too bad the current Tories/British government was sitting on their ass when the Japanese bought ARM Holdings or when Canvas bought Affinity or when Cadbury was sold out hollow greedy British government in action.

    Since the Thatcher government caring or doing any thing about local British industry/school/health is just a nebulous mind game played on the British population. In the end it British life just gets weaker and America is tracking 20-30 years behind Britain on a similar path.

    If Britain is looking for some tiny kernel of guidance look at Norway (not the EU) and the Norwegian sovereign wealth fund they won't and I would also hope Guyana (massive new oil riches) will they won't either. Long range selfless planning just isn't there for most.
    https://www.nbim.no/
    edited May 24 elijahgwatto_cobraAlex1N
  • Reply 5 of 20
    mikethemartianmikethemartian Posts: 1,411member
    I feel so frustrated that Apple doesn't just say "Fuck Europe". There is no monopoly. The U.S. Congress is also trying to say that Apple is a monopoly. That's ridiculous. A monopoly is like when I want to subscribe to cable TV and my only option is Spectrum. If I want cable TV, then I only have one choice and that's it. That's a monopoly. Apple should be able to run their "store" how they feel fit. It's their store. Is the government trying to tell Walmart what they can or cannot put in their store? Are they trying to dictate to Walmart what prices they can charge? If you are not happy with Apple's business practices, then buy a phone from one of a dozen other manufacturers. No one is forcing you against your will to buy an Apple device.
    Well Spectrum pays money to your community’s local franchise board for that privilege so if you have an issue with it you should complain to them. Also I’m betting that Spectrum can’t block your access to streaming services such as Apple TV, Netflix, Disney+, etc. despite the fact that those streaming services compete with Spectrum’s TV packages and uses their communication network.
    gatorguywilliamlondonCrossPlatformFroggerAlex1N
  • Reply 6 of 20
    danoxdanox Posts: 3,044member
    I feel so frustrated that Apple doesn't just say "Fuck Europe". There is no monopoly. The U.S. Congress is also trying to say that Apple is a monopoly. That's ridiculous. A monopoly is like when I want to subscribe to cable TV and my only option is Spectrum. If I want cable TV, then I only have one choice and that's it. That's a monopoly. Apple should be able to run their "store" how they feel fit. It's their store. Is the government trying to tell Walmart what they can or cannot put in their store? Are they trying to dictate to Walmart what prices they can charge? If you are not happy with Apple's business practices, then buy a phone from one of a dozen other manufacturers. No one is forcing you against your will to buy an Apple device.
    In time there will be a fork in the road Apple will regionalized their OS and devices for different parts of the world having basically a unified product range across the world is coming to a end and price will increase a little in some parts of the world because of it.
    watto_cobraAlex1N
  • Reply 7 of 20
    danoxdanox Posts: 3,044member

    blastdoor said:
    I thought brexit was a bad choice, but one potential positive was the UK developing better laws and regulations than the EU. If the UK is just going to copy EU laws, then brexit was even dumber than I thought.

    Ironically small British businesses (usually strong tory supporters) have taken it on the jaw with Brexit they were sold a bill of goods almost like the last nail in the coffin.......
    watto_cobraAlex1N
  • Reply 8 of 20
    teejay2012teejay2012 Posts: 386member
    I feel so frustrated that Apple doesn't just say "Fuck Europe". There is no monopoly. The U.S. Congress is also trying to say that Apple is a monopoly. That's ridiculous. A monopoly is like when I want to subscribe to cable TV and my only option is Spectrum. If I want cable TV, then I only have one choice and that's it. That's a monopoly. Apple should be able to run their "store" how they feel fit. It's their store. Is the government trying to tell Walmart what they can or cannot put in their store? Are they trying to dictate to Walmart what prices they can charge? If you are not happy with Apple's business practices, then buy a phone from one of a dozen other manufacturers. No one is forcing you against your will to buy an Apple device.

    I hear you but there are some points in which Apple needs 'guidance' on how it deals with users. Lots of discussions on those. That said, I am curious how much of 'this' is coming from developers that want more money and iPhone users that want more freedom in using their phones, rather than governments who just want to hobble Apple and other successful US tech companies. The latter appears to be true in the EU where Vestager and her commission are clearly targeting American companies.  One thing for sure, it is not coming from Android users who have decided which OS and hardware they prefer. On that point, that is how it should be - our choice to use the phones we want, from the companies we want to buy from and let market forces shape their products and policies within the law.
    williamlondonwatto_cobraAlex1N
  • Reply 9 of 20
    jimh2jimh2 Posts: 639member
    The EU leader (Vestager) narrowed her reasoning by saying Apple has a monopoly on the high end mobile phone market. This is a creative way to walk around the just about 50/50 split of iOS and Android users. Since that statistic does not work, find one that does which is making cost a delimiter.

    Even this is sketchy because the actual cost of a phone to a consumer varies widely when carrier subsidies are accounted for. You can get any iPhone with subsidies even though you are paying for them indirectly.

    williamlondonentropyswatto_cobraAlex1N
  • Reply 10 of 20
    jimh2jimh2 Posts: 639member

    I feel so frustrated that Apple doesn't just say "Fuck Europe". There is no monopoly. The U.S. Congress is also trying to say that Apple is a monopoly. That's ridiculous. A monopoly is like when I want to subscribe to cable TV and my only option is Spectrum. If I want cable TV, then I only have one choice and that's it. That's a monopoly. Apple should be able to run their "store" how they feel fit. It's their store. Is the government trying to tell Walmart what they can or cannot put in their store? Are they trying to dictate to Walmart what prices they can charge? If you are not happy with Apple's business practices, then buy a phone from one of a dozen other manufacturers. No one is forcing you against your will to buy an Apple device.
    Well Spectrum pays money to your community’s local franchise board for that privilege so if you have an issue with it you should complain to them. Also I’m betting that Spectrum can’t block your access to streaming services such as Apple TV, Netflix, Disney+, etc. despite the fact that those streaming services compete with Spectrum’s TV packages and uses their communication network.
    You lost me at the blocking of streaming services. As a customer you are paying for Internet and that is one you can use as you see fit. There is no Internet without streaming package I am aware of. The CableTV and home phone business is in a nursing home bed on life support with a shrinking customer base. Cable companies will become ISP's and have to find new ways to gouge us. In the end wired ISP's will be used by businesses only.
    watto_cobraAlex1N
  • Reply 11 of 20
    entropysentropys Posts: 4,212member
    blastdoor said:
    I thought brexit was a bad choice, but one potential positive was the UK developing better laws and regulations than the EU. If the UK is just going to copy EU laws, then brexit was even dumber than I thought.
    This is why the conservatives will be destroyed at the next election. The population voted in the referendum, and confirmed at the subsequent election, that it wanted brexit.  Many people voted Tory for the first time over this policy.
    since the election the Tories gave them brexit without actually giving them brexit. The laws and government processes the people opposed about the EU the government just got replicated. And not resolved. Just look at the immigration chaos as just one example of failure. So the people quite rightly feel betrayed and will vote them out.
    that British Labour would be even more on board with EU lovin’ is irrelevant. The betrayers will be punished, good and hard.
    williamlondon
  • Reply 12 of 20
    Brexit was stupid.

    If they'd just left well enough alone, they'd already be covered by the DMA.

    But a few months late is at least better than nothing.  There still needs to be worldwide normal software installation and a band on Apple's extortionate 'core technology fee'.
  • Reply 13 of 20
    Brexit was stupid.

    If they'd just left well enough alone, they'd already be covered by the DMA.

    But a few months late is at least better than nothing.  There still needs to be worldwide normal software installation and a band on Apple's extortionate 'core technology fee'.

    So everything must legislatively work like a 'traditional' computer according to you?

    What the DMA will actually cause is an increase in the number of people losing their shirts to fraud. It might as well be called the fund Russia and North Korea act.

    Perhaps Apple should do what Micheal Dell advised all those years ago 'Shut down and give the money back to shareholders' just to put the middle finger up at the politicians telling them how to design their products.
    williamlondonentropyswatto_cobraAlex1N
  • Reply 14 of 20
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 7,804member
    chelgrian said:
    Brexit was stupid.

    If they'd just left well enough alone, they'd already be covered by the DMA.

    But a few months late is at least better than nothing.  There still needs to be worldwide normal software installation and a band on Apple's extortionate 'core technology fee'.

    So everything must legislatively work like a 'traditional' computer according to you?

    What the DMA will actually cause is an increase in the number of people losing their shirts to fraud. It might as well be called the fund Russia and North Korea act.

    Perhaps Apple should do what Micheal Dell advised all those years ago 'Shut down and give the money back to shareholders' just to put the middle finger up at the politicians telling them how to design their products.
    Fraud has nothing to do with this. 

    That is something that must be dealt with by other laws. 

    The real point is where people can get their 'shirts' from and under which rules. 

    edited May 25
  • Reply 15 of 20
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 7,804member
    entropys said:
    blastdoor said:
    I thought brexit was a bad choice, but one potential positive was the UK developing better laws and regulations than the EU. If the UK is just going to copy EU laws, then brexit was even dumber than I thought.
    This is why the conservatives will be destroyed at the next election. The population voted in the referendum, and confirmed at the subsequent election, that it wanted brexit.  Many people voted Tory for the first time over this policy.
    since the election the Tories gave them brexit without actually giving them brexit. The laws and government processes the people opposed about the EU the government just got replicated. And not resolved. Just look at the immigration chaos as just one example of failure. So the people quite rightly feel betrayed and will vote them out.
    that British Labour would be even more on board with EU lovin’ is irrelevant. The betrayers will be punished, good and hard.
    Brexit was built on lies. The people didn't really decide.

    The whole thing was a shambles and now we have evidence to prove it. I'm sure there is more to come on that front. 

    The referendum itself was never binding, it was advisory. 

    The referendum law was botched. Leaving out virtually all EU resident British citizens (myself included) and sixteen and seventeen year olds. Precisely the people who would be most impacted. It didn't establish a high majority threshold either and in the end was decided by a minority. 

    The Leave Campaign was led by a declared Remainer who is now widely accepted as a person who will lie to anyone to get his way. The less said about Farage the better. 

    Some UK laws have been altered to make them worse than before. Just look at the quality of UK seawater and rivers. 

    If many EU laws basically remain as they were that isn't a bad thing as they are pretty darn good. They will likely go largely unchanged once the government after already failing multiple times to review them in the promised time frames. 

    The UK entered a downward spiral as one Prime Minister after another steered the boat into every political iceberg it could find. 

    Famously we had Prime Minister's Musical Chairs for a time (and the music was a funeral march!). 

    Some 20 years later I now have my vote back (as do millions more expats) and the Tories won't be getting it. 

    I'm just waiting for my postal vote application to be approved. 

    The EU DMA/DSA is a very good stab at tackling the issues of the digital age. This UK variant might not be up to snuff. I haven't read the bill but it's something that is needed. 


    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 16 of 20
    mbmoorembmoore Posts: 4member
    It sounds like the author thinks UK legislation will be a great thing--it is NEVER a great thing when Government, ANY Government, tries to police private industry. The world has connectivity like it has never had before, individual people have access to just about any kind of information (good and bad), products, and communication that they have never had before, and Government, as it always does, is going to step in and destroy it; it will be a slow but steady erosion of capability. It is rare that Government oversight improves anything. Of course, large enterprise private industry often does the same thing; AT&T, Comcast, and numerous others take over smaller entities and slowly destroy them. (AT&T's acquisition of DirectTV is a good example of it.) The difference is that private industry in a free enterprise arena is essentially self-regulating--competition is a wonderful thing; Government is the monopoly--they have no such thing as competition.

    The UK is probably the king of destruction. First, it was mandating USB-C as a connection standard, which is inane. Of all the problems (???) to choose, they chose cable connectivity($%???!!). Now, they're trying to regulate app sales. Let's see how long it takes for them to destroy the software apps business.
    williamlondonwatto_cobraAlex1N
  • Reply 17 of 20
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 7,804member
    mbmoore said:
    It sounds like the author thinks UK legislation will be a great thing--it is NEVER a great thing when Government, ANY Government, tries to police private industry. The world has connectivity like it has never had before, individual people have access to just about any kind of information (good and bad), products, and communication that they have never had before, and Government, as it always does, is going to step in and destroy it; it will be a slow but steady erosion of capability. It is rare that Government oversight improves anything. Of course, large enterprise private industry often does the same thing; AT&T, Comcast, and numerous others take over smaller entities and slowly destroy them. (AT&T's acquisition of DirectTV is a good example of it.) The difference is that private industry in a free enterprise arena is essentially self-regulating--competition is a wonderful thing; Government is the monopoly--they have no such thing as competition.

    The UK is probably the king of destruction. First, it was mandating USB-C as a connection standard, which is inane. Of all the problems (???) to choose, they chose cable connectivity($%???!!). Now, they're trying to regulate app sales. Let's see how long it takes for them to destroy the software apps business.
    Governments have the duty to 'police' private industry. Can you imagine the food or pharmaceutical industries without regulation? The technology industry is no exception and government is the only way to regulate big tech. 

    Can you imagine Zuckerberg telling the UK 'don't worry we can self regulate ourselves'.
    muthuk_vanalingamAlex1N
  • Reply 18 of 20
    rob53rob53 Posts: 3,261member
    jimh2 said:

    I feel so frustrated that Apple doesn't just say "Fuck Europe". There is no monopoly. The U.S. Congress is also trying to say that Apple is a monopoly. That's ridiculous. A monopoly is like when I want to subscribe to cable TV and my only option is Spectrum. If I want cable TV, then I only have one choice and that's it. That's a monopoly. Apple should be able to run their "store" how they feel fit. It's their store. Is the government trying to tell Walmart what they can or cannot put in their store? Are they trying to dictate to Walmart what prices they can charge? If you are not happy with Apple's business practices, then buy a phone from one of a dozen other manufacturers. No one is forcing you against your will to buy an Apple device.
    Well Spectrum pays money to your community’s local franchise board for that privilege so if you have an issue with it you should complain to them. Also I’m betting that Spectrum can’t block your access to streaming services such as Apple TV, Netflix, Disney+, etc. despite the fact that those streaming services compete with Spectrum’s TV packages and uses their communication network.
    You lost me at the blocking of streaming services. As a customer you are paying for Internet and that is one you can use as you see fit. There is no Internet without streaming package I am aware of. The CableTV and home phone business is in a nursing home bed on life support with a shrinking customer base. Cable companies will become ISP's and have to find new ways to gouge us. In the end wired ISP's will be used by businesses only.
    Many cities are beginning to offer ISP-less internet access. These are run as a city utility with various rules. I moved from a smaller city that installed (not done yet) a fiber distribution network to every neighborhood. Installation to house was $100 with gig-Ethernet $67/mo. They lease a T1 line to Seattle where we connected to the main internet. No ISP but you can be a fool and connect through one. This is how internet should be done. 
    williamlondonwatto_cobraAlex1N
  • Reply 19 of 20
    diman80diman80 Posts: 15member
    They should, and other governments around the globe should too, go after Alphabet. Just as an example, YouTube takes at least 45% of the revenue in the best-case scenarios, and everyone is quiet about that. It is ridiculous.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 20
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 7,804member
    diman80 said:
    They should, and other governments around the globe should too, go after Alphabet. Just as an example, YouTube takes at least 45% of the revenue in the best-case scenarios, and everyone is quiet about that. It is ridiculous.
    What makes you think they won't? 

    It isn't a bill that only applies to Apple. 
    muthuk_vanalingam
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