The EU Wants a New Regulator to Make Sure Internet Firms are Behaving Themselves

By Tom Pritchard on at

The EU's disagreements with Google are the stuff of legends, but it turns out that the search giant isn't the only company it's unhappy with. Leaked documents claim that the organisation wants to found a regulatory body to ensure the economy doesn't become overly reliant on internet firms.

The documents, apparently seen by The Wall Street Journal, is reported to have been prepared in February for EU digital commissioner Günther Oettinger. They warn that some digital businesses are "transforming into super-nodes that can be of systemic importance” and “only a very limited part of the economy will not depend on them in the near future.”

The documents warn that a lack of action could lead to a "point of no return", where economies are irreversibly tied to a handful of large companies.

Examples include the likes of Amazon, Etsy, Trip Advisor, Facebook, and Google. They are mentioned as having undue power over their sectors of the market and can exclude any company or products they feel like, without evidence, by claiming they breach terms and conditions.

Apparently this could potentially put the whole European economy at risk due to market exploitation. To tackle this the documents propose that a new "supervision framework" should be put together and do things like ban unfair business practices and prevent internet companies from using their platforms to provide preferential treatment to their own services.

It also mentions that all of these big internet firms are based in North America, yet supposedly 42% of their revenue comes from the EU and leaves Europe with a 'trade deficit' of £92 million. That's apparently directly hurting EU businesses, which the EU is obviously not happy about. [Wall Street Journal via The Guardian]

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