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Retail

EU privacy agency urges more safeguards to curb U.S. tech giants

FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: The logos of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google in a combination photo./File Photo

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - EU privacy watchdog EDPS on Wednesday backed the bloc’s push to curb the power of Apple, Amazon, Alphabet unit Google and Facebook via new tough rules and suggested more safeguards to boost users’ privacy rights.

Unveiled by EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager and EU industry chief Thierry Breton in December last year, the two sets of rules are known as the Digital Markets Act (DMA) and the Digital Services Act (DSA).

DMA takes aim at online gatekeepers which will be subject to a list of dos such as sharing some data with rivals and regulators and don’ts among them not favouring their own services on their platforms.

The DSA requires large online platforms and other internet players to do more to tackle illegal content, be more transparent about political advertising on their platforms. DMA fines can be as much as 10% of global turnover and 6% for DSA breaches.

“The EDPS welcomes the (DMA) proposal, as it seeks to promote fair and open markets and the fair processing of personal data,” the EU watchdog, which ensures that EU institutions comply with the bloc’s privacy rules, said in an opinion.

Its comments could encourage privacy advocates and EU lawmakers to push for a tougher line.

EDPS said gatekeepers should provide an easy and accessible way for users to consent or decline the use of their personal data by the companies for their other services, and that there should be tests to ensure personal data is effectively anonymous.

On the DSA, the agency said profiling of users for content moderation purposes should be banned and that online targeted advertising should be phased out and banned in the case of pervasive tracking while some data should be shielded from targeted advertising.

The proposed European Commission rules will need to be discussed with EU countries and EU lawmakers before they become law, a process which will take 16-24 months.

Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by Gareth Jones

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