If you want to know what a US tech crackdown may look like, check out what Europe did
June 07, 2019 @ 12:32 UTC
Europe has made its name as the top cop of tech regulation. The European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union, has imposed a combined $9.5 billion in antitrust fines against Google since 2017, and its boss hints Amazon and Apple might be next in line.
Facebook, meanwhile, has been subject to probes from competition and data protection authorities across the EU since the region’s strict new set of privacy rules called the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) went into effect last year. As U.S. regulators and lawmakers step up their efforts to reign in big tech companies, Europe offers some valuable lessons.
“You’ve seen a lot of proxy wars go on here because of the nature of the fact that we’ve got one Europe-wide regulator for antitrust, and the laws are clear, and that regulator definitely has teeth,” Mark MacGann, Uber’s former head of public policy in Europe and founder of venture capital and advisory firm Moonshot Ventures, told CNBC in an interview.
When it comes to enforcement, the European Commission has opted for fines and mandates for tech companies to their change in business practices, rather than arguing to break them up, said John Cassels, a partner who specializes in competition law at European firm Fieldfisher, in an interview. This tactic could put Europe’s approach at odds with some U.S. lawmakers touting strong rhetoric about dismantling big tech companies. The EU’s fines have done little to dent any tech companies’ profits.