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Pro-competition sharing

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andranik123 – stock.adobe.com UK government proposals to improve competition in digital markets by making tech giants share data with smaller firms will not include consumers’ personal information, says digital minister By Sebastian Klovig Skelton , Senior reporter Published: 13 May 2022 16:28 Potential data sharing between tech giants and smaller firms under the UK government’s…

Defends users’ privacy in data sharing for pro-competition

andranik123 – stock.adobe.com

UK government proposes to increase competition in digital markets, making tech giants share information with smaller companies. However, consumers’ personal data will not be shared with them, states digital minister

Sebastian  Klovig Skelton

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Published: 13 May 2022 16: 28

Potential data sharing between tech giants and smaller firms under the UK government’s upcoming digital competition legislation needs to respect people’s privacy and be “reasonable, proportionate [and] necessary to facilitate fair competition”, according to digital minister Chris Philp.

On 6 May 2022, the government announced that it would be giving the Digital Markets Unit (DMU) statutory powers to enforce a “pro-competition” regime under the upcoming Digital Markets, Competition and Consumer Bill.

It was stated that the DMU would have the power to intervene in market dominance’s root causes, including the ability to force companies with strategic market status (which is expected to include Amazon, Google and Apple) into sharing data with smaller rivals, thus limiting the competitive advantage of larger firms.

However, the requirements for large tech companies are still being defined. The government claims that this will occur when legislation is introduced to Parliament, although it is unclear when.

Speaking to members of trade association TechUK on 12 May about the legislation’s direction of travel, Philp clarified that he thinks the forced data sharing will only apply to “specific areas” the DMU has identified as inhibiting competition, and not to the personal information tech giants hold on users.

” Facebook will not have to give their entire database to everyone who requests it… for privacy reasons and a lot more.” he stated. “I believe it will be targeted. If the DMU finds areas in which holding data in particular areas is inhibiting competition they will look to de-pick that area in a very specific way.

“They’ll need to ensure that the decision is reasonable and proportionate [and], in order to promote fair competition. They also have to respect privacy. .”

While Philp didn’t go into detail about the data that tech giants might be forced to give over, he said that the new digital competition legislation would empower consumers by giving them more control over whether or not they are subjected to surveillance-based business models.

” They have these data vaults that contain everything you’ve done, thought, or clicked on. There’s a question as to whether you should have user empowerment that allows you to better control how that happens,” he stated.

Philp added that compelling interoperability, consumer choice, and compelling firms to allow data access to the DMU would be part of its pre-emptive intervention capabilities. This was “to prevent dominant market position becoming problematic in the first instance, rather than trying it to repair it after the fact.”

Neil Ross, associate director for policy at TechUK – which represents more than 850 UK technology businesses – told Computer Weekly “that deciding to open up data from SMS firms would need to be appropriate to any anti-competitive practices that the Digital Markets Unit is seeking to address”.

He said that the DMU’s requirement to consult with the industry more broadly will inform this process. The DMU’s obligation to consult the entire industry .”

will inform this.

On which firms will be given strategic market status, Philp said the revenue threshold for being included would be very high so as to only affect the “very biggest firms”, adding he expects there to be “substantially less than 10” companies in the list.

Setting up a new digital markets regulator was one of the recommendations of the March 2019 Furman report, Unlocking digital competition, which said a watchdog should be established with skills across technology, economics and behavioural sciences to lay out “the rules of the game” for companies in the sector.

A later study by the Competition and Markets Authority in July 2020 found that a lack of competition throughout the UK’s digital markets was preventing consumers from accessing new services, as well as resulting in direct harm to smaller businesses.

” We believe that the platforms have too much control over consumer data,” it stated. “Consumers value privacy and want control over their data, but many social media pl

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