EU digital chief to talk to tech giants over rules to curb their power

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FILE PHOTO: European Union Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton leaves after an online news conference at the EU headquarters in Brussels

By Foo Yun Chee

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Union’s digital chief has invited companies including Alphabet <GOOGL.O>, Apple <AAPL.O>, Amazon <AMZN.O> and Facebook <FB.O> to video talks next week to discuss draft rules to curb their powers, an EU official said on Thursday.

Tech companies and online platforms have lobbied intensively to try to blunt the proposed regulatory rules, which the Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton, responsible for digital regulation, will formally present with Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager on Dec. 9.

Ahead of that, the video conference on Nov. 24 will discuss the proposed rules, which are known as the Digital Services Act (DSA) and Digital Markets Act (DMA).

Some companies do not think the discussion will lead to changes at this late stage, people close to the companies said on condition of anonymity.

The DSA will require tech companies to explain how their algorithms work and also open up their ad archives to regulators and researchers.

The DMA targets online gatekeepers with a list of dos, such as sharing data with rivals and regulators, and don’ts, such as not favouring their own services.

Breton has invited chief executives from about 20 companies, which also include Microsoft, Booking.com, Expedia, Trivago, DuckDuckGo, a person familiar with the matter said. It was unclear whether CEOs would take part or send senior executives.

Breton will need feedback from EU countries and the European Parliament before a final draft can be adopted, a process which can take a year or more.

(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; editing by Barbara Lewis)

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