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TechnologyEU may need to regulate tech giants' data use: EU antitrust chief

16:40  13 september  2019
16:40  13 september  2019 Source:   reuters.com

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Breaking up tech giants should be a measure of last resort, the European Union ’s competition commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, has suggested. Vestager is, however, in the final months of her term as antitrust chief — with the Commission due to turn over this year. Her time at the antitrust

The European Union ’s competition commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, has fired a warning shot about the competition risks posed by dominant tech The WSJ reports her saying: “If a few companies control the data you need to cut costs, then you give them the power to drive others out of the market…

By Foo Yun Chee

EU may need to regulate tech giants' data use: EU antitrust chief© Reuters/Yves Herman FILE PHOTO: European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager addresses a news conference on an antitrust case in Brussels

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union may impose rules to ensure companies that collect data do not misuse it, Europe's antitrust chief said on Friday, signaling how she could use her expanded powers to rein in U.S. tech firms like Facebook and Google.

The comments by Margrethe Vestager, appointed to serve another five years as European competition commissioner with new regulatory powers, suggests she may introduce rules to specifically cover tech companies and their use of data.

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If tech giants were hoping for Europe ’s next Commission to pay a little less attention to question marks hanging over the fairness of their practices they’re And while — on the surface — regulating data might sound less radical a remedy than breaking giants like Google and Facebook up, placing hard

Margrethe Vestager, competition commissioner of the European Commission, spoke at the 2018 Bloomberg Global Business Forum on September 26 in New York City. Bloomberg Philanthropies. For American tech giants looking to do business in Europe , Margrethe Vestager is their worst nightmare.

Until now, fines have been handed out on a case-by-case basis based on regulations that are not specific to the sector.

Under Vestager, fines totaling about 10 billion euros ($11.1 billion) have been handed down to Google and Qualcomm after court rulings determined they had thwarted rivals.

"If we want to define the market, to set out what's acceptable and what isn't, then what we need is not more competition enforcement. We need regulation," she told a conference in Copenhagen.

"So we may also need broader rules to make sure that the way companies collect and use data doesn't harm the fundamental values of our society," Vestager said without giving details.

She said the bloc's data protection rules, adopted last year, gave Europeans control over personal data but did not help in instances when problems arose from companies misusing data to draw conclusions about individuals or to undermine democracy.

Tech giants, once seen as engines of economic growth and a source of innovation, have come under fire on both sides of the Atlantic for allegedly misusing their power and for failing to protect their users' privacy.

(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by Edmund Blair)

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