EU’s antitrust cop lays groundwork for more tech scrutiny

Silicon Valley’s notorious nemesis, Margrethe Vestager, plans to end her term as the European Union’s antitrust enforcer this year with a bang, laying out a long-term plan to intensify scrutiny of the world’s big tech companies.

As the EU’s competition commissioner, Vestager is arguably the world’s most important tech regulator. Since 2014, she has slapped Google with eye-popping multibillion-dollar antitrust penalties, ordered Apple and Amazon to pay back taxes and fined Facebook over its WhatsApp acquisition — flagship enforcement cases that have struck fear into Silicon Valley while drawing attention in Washington.

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EU’s Vestager, Silicon Valley nemesis, doesn’t shy from tech
The European Union’s competition commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, has made her name challenging Silicon Valley tech companies. But the Danish politician isn’t exactly a Luddite when it comes to using technology herself.

She detailed her preferences in a recent interview when it comes to using tech services:

Europe’s Next Two Fronts in Its War on Google
Despite its lobbying, Google can’t seem to win in Europe. The French privacy watchdog has blown through the U.S. internet giant’s claim to comply with data-protection legislation, and its threat to pull its news-aggregation service in the region will likely prove far less effective than the company expects.

Google’s troubles with the European Union’s antitrust authorities are well-known: the company was fined 2.4 billion euros ($2.7 billion) in 2017 for abusing its dominance in price-comparison services, and a further 4.3 billion euros the following year for pushing software bundles on Android phone makers. Another antitrust probe, this time involving its AdSense advertising product, is under way.

In win for tech giants, EU copyright reforms stalled
EU efforts to reform copyright rules hit a roadblock on Monday when a meeting of lawmakers and officials was called off, prompting criticism of Google from publishers after it and other tech giants lobbied against the changes.

The European Commission, which launched a debate on the issue two years ago, says an overhaul is necessary to protect Europe’s cultural heritage and level the playing field between big online platforms and publishers, broadcasters and artists.

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