The Digital Markets Unit (DMU) will focus initially on the likes of Google and Facebook, who currently dominate the digital market
Initially announced last November, today sees the UK government announce the creation of a new regulatory body, the DMU, that will be tasked with reining in the major US tech giants that currently stifle competition online, ultimately seeking to give consumers more choice and control over their data.
The DMU was created following various market reviews and studies which showed Big Tech, such as Google and Facebook, to have immensely concentrated power in the digital market, thus ‘curtailing growth and having negative impacts on consumers and businesses which rely on them’, according to the government announcement. The new unit will be based within the Competition and Markets Authority.
The new regulator is set to explore the relationship between these platforms and content providers, such as news publishes, to ensure that they are as fair as possible, and not lopsided as a result of the tech companies’ market dominance.
“The Digital Markets Unit has launched and I’ve asked it to begin by looking at the relationships between platforms and content providers, and platforms and digital advertisers,” said digital secretary Oliver Dowden. “This will pave the way for the development of new digital services and lower prices, give consumers more choice and control over their data, and support our news industry, which is vital to freedom of expression and our democratic values.”
For now, the unit does not have statutory powers itself, but the government has said that it will consult on the creation of an "unashamedly pro-competition” regime, according to the business secretary, with the aims of granting the DMU the requisite powers later this year.
This move comes as the latest in a series of crackdowns around the world on the power of US mega-corporations like Google, Facebook, and Amazon. Late last year, the European Union announce the biggest update of digital regulations in around twenty years, including the Digital Markets Act that would curtail the powers of the tech giants.
The UK has said that it will work with international partners in helping to develop effective tech regulation.
How is regulation surrounding Big Tech changing and what impact will it have on the digital market as a whole? Find out from the experts themselves at this year’s Total Telecom Congress
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