Big tech companies including Google parent Alphabet, Amazon.com and Facebook face a swath of proposed European regulations aimed at curbing their alleged anticompetitive behavior, making them pay more taxes and compelling them to shoulder more responsibility for illegal content on their platforms, said a top European Union official.
Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s digital-policy and antitrust czar, detailed for the first time a comprehensive plan of how she aims to rein in U.S. tech giants, using a package of initiatives that the EU has begun to outline individually in recent weeks. The aim is to clearly delineate new legal boundaries for tech companies, rather than just apply existing laws covering fields such as antitrust regulation.
“It’s a full complex of things. It’s not done with just one piece of legislation,” Ms. Vestager said in an interview with a small group of reporters. Ms. Vestagerwho in her prior term as European competition commissioner leveled record fines on Google and orderedApple to pay Ireland $14.5 billion in allegedly unpaid taxes, last year was promoted to vice president of the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, in charge of competition and new legislation for the digital sector.
“After the first mandate and the first specific competition cases, what I have seen very clearly is that we need rigorous competition-law enforcement, but we also need regulation,” she said.
Tech companies have said that they want to work with the commission to craft the new laws, but several have raised concerns about elements of the proposals. Representatives for Google, Facebook, Apple and Amazon, asked about the commission’s new approach, either didn’t respond, declined to comment or referred to earlier replies on the individual EU proposals.
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