NEWS19 December 2019

Tech platforms should face stricter rules, says regulator

Media News Privacy Technology

UK – The competition regulator has said the UK should consider more regulation of technology platforms.

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In an update on its ongoing market review of online platforms such as Google and Facebook and digital advertising, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said there is a “strong argument” for a “pro-competitive regulatory regime” to be developed.

A lack of competition in the market could be stymying innovation and leading to a lack of choice for consumers and higher prices for advertisers, while the platforms’ market position may also undermine newspapers and publishers, it noted.

The regulator is considering an enforceable code of conduct for large platforms with ‘strategic market status’. It is also considering new rules around personal data collection and privacy. Under these rules:

  • Platforms would be required to give consumers an option to use their services without requiring in return the use of consumers’ data for personalised advertising
  • Default settings would be changed to require a default ‘opt-in’ to personalised advertising rather than the current default ‘opt-out’
  • Platforms would be obligated to design consent and privacy policies in a way that facilitates informed consumer choice.

The watchdog’s interim report is open for consultation until 12th February, ahead of a final report, due to be published by 2nd July 2020. 

Commenting on the update, an Advertising Association spokesperson said: “We believe that a healthy, competitive online advertising market is important for the long-term sustainability of the advertising industry and the wider economy. It is important that the CMA ensures its work is future-proof and coherent with other government and regulatory reviews.”