The UK government said that it’s setting up a “Digital Markets Unit” next year to enforce a new code of conduct governing the behavior of tech giants that dominate the online advertising market.(Reuters file photo)
The UK government said that it’s setting up a “Digital Markets Unit” next year to enforce a new code of conduct governing the behavior of tech giants that dominate the online advertising market.(Reuters file photo)

UK to launch new watchdog next year to police tech giants

The UK government said that it’s setting up a “Digital Markets Unit”, scheduled to launch in April, will oversee a new regulatory regime for tech companies that’s aimed at spurring more competition.
By Associated Press | Posted by Mallika Soni | London
PUBLISHED ON NOV 27, 2020 04:16 PM IST

Britain plans to create a new watchdog to police big tech companies including Google and Facebook to counter their market dominance and prevent them from exploiting consumers and small businesses.

The UK government said Friday that it’s setting up a “Digital Markets Unit” next year to enforce a new code of conduct governing the behavior of tech giants that dominate the online advertising market.

The Digital Markets Unit, scheduled to launch in April, will oversee a new regulatory regime for tech companies that’s aimed at spurring more competition.

The measures were foreshadowed in findings by former Obama economic adviser Jason Furman, who was commissioned by the UK Treasury to carry out a review of the digital economy.

It’s part of a wider push by governments in the US and Europe to constrain the power of big tech companies amid concern about their outsize influence. The European Union this week unveiled proposals to wrest control of data from tech companies and is set to release details next month of a sweeping overhaul of digital regulations aimed at preventing online gatekeepers from stifling competition. In the US, authorities are pursuing an antitrust case against Google and lawmakers have proposed breaking up big tech companies.

Read more | Covid-19 hit UK immigration, but Indians among top to get visas

UK Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden said online platforms bring benefits to society, “but there is growing consensus in the UK and abroad that the concentration of power among a small number of tech companies is curtailing growth of the sector, reducing innovation and having negative impacts on the people and businesses that rely on them.”

The government still needs to consult on how the digital markets unit will operate and approve legislation for it.

Under the new code, tech companies would have to be more transparent about how they use consumers’ data. They would have to let users choose whether to receive personalised advertising, and wouldn’t be allowed to make it harder for customers to use rival platforms.

The Digital Markets Unit could be given the power to suspend, block or reverse any decisions made by big tech companies, and order them to take certain actions to comply with the code. If companies don’t comply, the watchdog could fine them, though the maximum penalty hasn’t yet been spelled out.

Google said competition in the ad tech industry has been increasing and noted it gives users tools to manage and control their data.

“We support an approach that benefits people, businesses and society and we look forward to working constructively with the Digital Markets Unit so that everyone can make the most of the internet,” said Ronan Harris, the company’s vice president for UK and Ireland.

Facebook declined to comment.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Topics
app
Close
The privacy watchdog told TikTok on Friday to block the accounts of users in the country whose age it couldn’t verify at least until Feb. 15, according to a statement by the regulator.(AP)
The privacy watchdog told TikTok on Friday to block the accounts of users in the country whose age it couldn’t verify at least until Feb. 15, according to a statement by the regulator.(AP)

TikTok reviews Italian data watchdog’s order to block accounts

Bloomberg
PUBLISHED ON JAN 23, 2021 04:50 PM IST
The strengthening of rules came after a 10-year-old girl died of asphyxiation in Palermo, Sicily, while taking part in a so-called blackout challenge on TikTok, the news agency cited her parents as saying.
Close
“This is a very serious situation, and we must do what we can to stop the outbreak,” Hoie said.(AFP)
“This is a very serious situation, and we must do what we can to stop the outbreak,” Hoie said.(AFP)

Norway locks down Oslo area to fight spread of new Covid-19 Variant

Bloomberg
PUBLISHED ON JAN 23, 2021 04:25 PM IST
All shops, cinemas, restaurants and churches will be closed and the service of alcohol banned until Jan. 31, Health Minister Bent Hoie announced.
Close
A view of the TikTok app logo. In a statement, the regulator said that although TikTok had committed to ban registration for children aged under 13, it was nonetheless easy to circumvent this rule.(AP)
A view of the TikTok app logo. In a statement, the regulator said that although TikTok had committed to ban registration for children aged under 13, it was nonetheless easy to circumvent this rule.(AP)

Italy tells TikTok to block users after death of young girl

Reuters
PUBLISHED ON JAN 23, 2021 02:59 PM IST
The ruling came after a girl died of asphyxiation in Palermo, Sicily, in a case that has shocked Italy.
Close
A file photo shows deer gathering at a depot used to store pipes for the planned Keystone XL oil pipeline in Gascoyne, North Dakota. (REUTERS)
A file photo shows deer gathering at a depot used to store pipes for the planned Keystone XL oil pipeline in Gascoyne, North Dakota. (REUTERS)

In phone call with Biden, Trudeau expresses disappointment over US stance on Keystone XL pipeline

PUBLISHED ON JAN 23, 2021 02:58 PM IST
Trudeau has been under pressure from several premiers of Canadians provinces to press America on the matter and threaten economic sanctions if the project is not revived
Close
Some 5.38 million people have been given a first dose of vaccine in the UK, government data showed.(AP)
Some 5.38 million people have been given a first dose of vaccine in the UK, government data showed.(AP)

UK doctors call for shorter gap between Pfizer vaccine doses

Reuters, London
PUBLISHED ON JAN 23, 2021 02:41 PM IST
The British Medical Association said it supports giving a second dose up to 42 days after the first dose, but that a longer gap is not in line with World Health Organization guidance. It therefore urged the CMO to "urgently review the UK's current position of second doses after 12 weeks".
Close
Khabarovsk : Police detain a man during a protest against the jailing of opposition leader Alexei Navalny in Khabarovsk, 6,100 kilometers (3,800 miles) east of Moscow, Russia, Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021. Authorities in Russia have taken measures to curb protests planned for Saturday against the jailing of Navalny. AP/PTI(AP01_23_2021_000017B)(AP)
Khabarovsk : Police detain a man during a protest against the jailing of opposition leader Alexei Navalny in Khabarovsk, 6,100 kilometers (3,800 miles) east of Moscow, Russia, Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021. Authorities in Russia have taken measures to curb protests planned for Saturday against the jailing of Navalny. AP/PTI(AP01_23_2021_000017B)(AP)

Russia arrests protesters demanding Alexei Navalny's release

AP, Moscow
PUBLISHED ON JAN 23, 2021 02:16 PM IST
Authorities say his stay in Germany violated terms of a suspended sentence in a criminal conviction in a case that Navalny says was illegitimate.
Close
The reports describe Donald Trump's increasing frustration with Rosen's refusal to wield the power of the Justice Department to interfere in the count.(Reuters file photo)
The reports describe Donald Trump's increasing frustration with Rosen's refusal to wield the power of the Justice Department to interfere in the count.(Reuters file photo)

Donald Trump mulled replacing attorney general over election results: Report

AFP
PUBLISHED ON JAN 23, 2021 02:07 PM IST
Trump narrowly lost Georgia to Joe Biden in the November presidential election, in a vote he baselessly claimed was rigged.
Close
The image first appeared on a Persian-language Twitter feed that carried a link to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's website.(Reuters file photo)
The image first appeared on a Persian-language Twitter feed that carried a link to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's website.(Reuters file photo)

Top Iran leader posts Trump-like image with drone, vows revenge

Reuters, Dubai
PUBLISHED ON JAN 23, 2021 02:03 PM IST
Tehran retaliated for Soleimani's killing with missile strikes against US targets in Iraq but the two sides backed away from further confrontation.
Close
FILE - In this Oct. 23, 2020, file photo, Chinese President Xi Jinping delivers his speech at the commemorating conference on the 70th anniversary of the Chinese army entering North Korea to resist the U.S. army, at the Great Hall fo the People in Beijing. Xi is asking former CEO Howard Schultz of Starbucks to help repair U.S.-Chinese relations that have plunged to their lowest level in decades amid a tariff war and tension over technology and security. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, File)(AP)
FILE - In this Oct. 23, 2020, file photo, Chinese President Xi Jinping delivers his speech at the commemorating conference on the 70th anniversary of the Chinese army entering North Korea to resist the U.S. army, at the Great Hall fo the People in Beijing. Xi is asking former CEO Howard Schultz of Starbucks to help repair U.S.-Chinese relations that have plunged to their lowest level in decades amid a tariff war and tension over technology and security. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, File)(AP)

China Embassy refutes report it’s seeking meeting with the US

Bloomberg
PUBLISHED ON JAN 23, 2021 01:57 PM IST
Both China and the US should focus on cooperation and manage their disputes in order to facilitate healthy and stable relations, according to the statement.
Close
On day three of his presidency, Joe Biden announced 'The American Rescue Plan' that includes economic relief for most Americans.(AP)
On day three of his presidency, Joe Biden announced 'The American Rescue Plan' that includes economic relief for most Americans.(AP)

Joe Biden signs executive orders to boost economic relief for Americans

PTI, Washington
PUBLISHED ON JAN 23, 2021 01:38 PM IST
Biden said under his rescue plan, the economy would return to full employment a year faster than without the plan.
Close
US President-elect Joe Biden’s proposed National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said that he was ‘deeply concerned’ about the imprisonment of pro-democracy demonstrators in Hong Kong.(Reuters)
US President-elect Joe Biden’s proposed National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said that he was ‘deeply concerned’ about the imprisonment of pro-democracy demonstrators in Hong Kong.(Reuters)

Joe Biden administration to review US-Taliban agreement

By Rezaul H Laskar, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON JAN 23, 2021 01:31 PM IST
  • US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan also said the US is committed to consulting closely with the Afghan government, NATO allies and regional partners on a collective strategy to support a stable, sovereign, and secure future for the country.
Close
Members of the National Guard march towards the US Capitol in Washington, DC(Bloomberg)
Members of the National Guard march towards the US Capitol in Washington, DC(Bloomberg)

Biden administration launches inter-agency review of domestic extremism

PTI, Washington
PUBLISHED ON JAN 23, 2021 01:00 PM IST
Biden admin launches inter-agency review of domestic extremism
Close
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un speaks during the 8th Congress of the Workers' Party in Pyongyang, North Korea.(REUTERS)
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un speaks during the 8th Congress of the Workers' Party in Pyongyang, North Korea.(REUTERS)

North Korea sees talks as way to advance nuclear program, says US intel official

Reuters
PUBLISHED ON JAN 23, 2021 12:25 PM IST
White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki reiterated this on Friday, saying North Korea's nuclear weapons were a serious threat to peace and Washington had a vital interest in deterring Pyongyang.
Close
Efforts to vaccinate people for Covid-19 have been frustrated by disarray and limited supplies in some places.(REUTERS)
Efforts to vaccinate people for Covid-19 have been frustrated by disarray and limited supplies in some places.(REUTERS)

Wuhan returns to normal as world still battling pandemic

PTI, Wuhan
PUBLISHED ON JAN 23, 2021 12:22 PM IST
Hong Kong has been grappling to contain a fresh wave of the coronavirus since November. Over 4,300 cases have been recorded in the last two months, making up nearly 40% of the city's total.
Close
Former US President Donald Trump at a campaign rally in Dalton, Georgia, US.(File photo/ Reuters)
Former US President Donald Trump at a campaign rally in Dalton, Georgia, US.(File photo/ Reuters)

Trump shuns 'ex-presidents club' — and the feeling is mutual

AP
PUBLISHED ON JAN 23, 2021 12:11 PM IST
Former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton recorded a three-minute video from Arlington National Cemetery after President Joe Biden's inauguration this week. The segment included no mention of Trump by name.
Close
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP