July 25, 2021

France wants to toughen European regulation of digital platforms

It is necessary ” to reinforce “ and ” complete ” the two European projects for the regulation of major digital platforms. This is the message that Cédric O, on behalf of France, brought to the European Council on Thursday 27 May. “Competitiveness”. In front of the journalists, the Secretary of State for digital certainly recalled his “Very strong support” the Digital Services Act (DSA) and the Digital Markets Act (DMA), two texts which must in particular regulate the activities of the web giants, the Gafam (Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple and Microsoft). But Paris proposed to toughen certain measures, during this first political discussion of the ministers of the Twenty-Seven on the draft regulations presented in December by the European Commission.

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The French amendments aim to make “Effective” the DSA, which sets obligations to moderate hate content. Concretely, it is a question of completing the “Country of origin rule”. According to this principle, breaches of the DSA will be examined by the authority of the nation where the headquarters of the social network or search engine concerned is located: for example, for Facebook, Google or Apple, based in Dublin, it would be the Irish equivalent of the Superior Audiovisual Council (CSA). “However, everyone has the GDPR in mind”, Cédric O justified, in reference to the slowness of the Irish authority to comment on the many complaints accusing Gafam of not respecting the European data protection regulations.

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Paris therefore proposes to allow the authorities of the countries of destination where the infringements take place to be able to request an investigation, to be involved in the instructions and the follow-up of sanctions, or even, in the event of conflict with the authority of the country of origin, to seek arbitration from the grouping of European authorities.

Logic of “demonetization”

On the DMA, the French Minister of the Economy, Bruno Le Maire, and his Dutch and German counterparts want to avoid a “Bottleneck in the application”, as they made it known in a joint letter. The DMA seeks to prohibit anti-competitive practices by dominant platforms in a sector. It provides for centralized monitoring by the European Commission. The courier would like the Member States and their competition authorities to be involved in it, in order to provide human and technical resources. Paris also wants the DMA to be « flexible » in order to take into account in the future practices not included on the current prohibited list.

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