Friday 13 September 2019 3:38 pm

EU competition chief Vestager eyes new data rules as she turns up heat on tech giants

EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager has called for new rules to police how companies collect and use data as she dialled up the pressure on tech giants.

Vestager, who this week was given expanded powers and a second term as competition chief, said more regulation was needed to protect the “fundamental values of our society”.

Read more: Margrethe Vestager stays on as EU competition head in blow for tech giants

“Our data protection rules already give Europeans control over their own data,” the antitrust chief said.

“But they don’t help me if the problems come from the way that they use other people’s data, to draw conclusions about me or to undermine democracy.”

She added: “When a few companies control a lot of data about us, that can also help them influence the choices we make.”

Vestager singled out Google and Facebook, which she described as “determined collectors of data”, citing their dominance in the digital advertising market.

She said the EU had to keep a “close eye” on the companies to ensure their control of user data did not undermine competition and harm consumers. 

Vestager has gained a formidable reputation for her crackdown on tech giants and has handed down a string of hefty fines.

Read more: Vestager’s re-hire leaves the UK on the back foot

During her first term the competition chief handed down fines of more than €8bn (£7.2bn) to Google and more than €100m to Facebook.

In addition, Vestager has also ordered Apple to pay back €13bn in unpaid taxes to Ireland, prompting President Donald Trump to dismiss her as the EU’s “tax lady” who “really hates the US”.

Main image credit: Getty