EU’s Digital Markets Act Has Some Unexpected Last-Minute Changes

The final text for the Digital Markets Act contains some unexpected last-minute changes, reported EURACTIV.

The EU co-legislators reached an agreement on the Digital Markets Act (DMA) on 24 March. Since then, stakeholders have been trying to get hold of the final text, fine-tuned in the utmost secrecy until it was finally circulated last week.

The text will likely be presented to the Council’s competition working party on 28 April and approved by the EU ambassadors at the Committee of Permanent Representatives (COREPER) on 4 May.

The text’s preamble was changed to clarify the meaning of the legal obligations and make a legal challenge more difficult.
The text now clearly states that the DMA is intended to ensure the contestability of all online services. A general explanation of contestability and fairness has also been added.

Related: The EU’s Proposal for a Digital Markets Act – An Ex Ante Landmark

The document states that users should be able to uninstall any apps that are not essential to the functioning of the operating system or device.

On sideloading, new wording has been added to ensure that third-party apps and app stores can ask users to become their default setting. The Council’s language on allowing gatekeepers to apply ‘duly justified’ security requirements to the third-party apps has been added.

An entirely new requirement prevents gatekeepers from using personal data from users that are using the service provided by a third party when that third-party service is using the gatekeeper’s platform.

The preamble explains that this measure is meant to prevent Google and Facebook from tracking users who have denied their consent when they visit websites that are part of their ad networks. The regulation only allows requesting consent to process personal data once per year.

Advertisers will be able to access both aggregated and non-aggregated data for the ads they run. The data must be provided so advertisers can analyse it with their tools.

The DMA is expected to be adopted next month, meaning it will enter into force in October 2022. Following that, it will take six months to apply, taking up to April 2023. The designation process will start, which might take up to the end of summer 2023. From there, the regulatory dialogue would formally start. Finally, the compliance process will begin around the first quarter of 2024.

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