New ‘fair-play’ rules and ten per cent turnover fines will be among the strong tools available to a new technology unit housed within the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), as part of the latest government plans to tackle the dominance of major firms.
The government considers the powers necessary to ensure the Digital Markets Unit (DMU) has the power to protect small businesses from predatory practices, while giving consumers more choice and control over their online experiences.
The ‘fair-play’ rules will make it easier for people to switch between phone operating systems and ensure smaller firms are alerted to algorithm changes, while the fines will ensure the regulator has teeth to clamp down on breaches of rules.
The DMU is a newly proposed watchdog, designed to make sure tech companies don’t abuse their market power.
The latest announcement follows a consultation issued last year, with the government now set to give statutory powers for the DMU to allow it to enforce pro-competition rules and rebalance the relationship tech giants have with consumers and businesses so they are better protected from unfair practices.
The CMA approved the proposals, which it believed would ensure a healthy domestic climate for digital companies.
Chief executive Andrea Coscelli, said: “The CMA welcomes these proposals and we’re pleased that the government has taken forward a number of our recommendations that will allow the DMU to oversee an effective and robust digital markets regime in the UK.”
It also follows reports earlier this week in The Financial Times that the UK was preparing to shelve plans to empower a new technology regulator, in a blow to global efforts to curb the dominance of internet companies, including Google and Facebook.
The government failed to specify a time frame, and instead plans to introduce legislation putting the DMU on a statutory footing “in due course.”