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Digital Policies – an East-West Perspective

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The role of digital platforms and how to regulate them has become the new frontier for regulators and policy maker around the world.

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This webinar takes stock of the different developments and approaches to regulating digital markets in the US, Canada, Europe, South Korea and Japan.

At the end of 2020, the European Commission had tabled no less than three new acts with the goal of regulating its digital markets. With a stated objective to create a safer digital space where fundamental rights of all users of digital services are sufficiently protected, the Single Market changes its mode of market governance from addressing market failures ex-post (as they happen) that are tailored to create the same outcome.

The three European acts – Digital Governance Act, Digital Services Act and Digital Markets Act – builds on the political successes of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the political capital it has unleashed to act against digital-native players. But they depart from the philosophy of GDPR, a horizontal regulation that applies to all societal processes involving personal information, whether they occur online or offline – or by public, private or commercial actors. Instead, the three digital acts are detailed product or activity-specific regulations that only apply to some digital market actors.

The European Commission’s proposals are likely to be subject to intense lobbying and to amendments as they go through the co-legislative process. The European Parliament is likely to push for more stringent rules, while the Council is likely to focus on the division of competences between the EU and the member states in enforcing the new regulations. Companies, trade associations and their advisors will now study the proposals carefully to identify their potential impact. In particular, the issues where potential advocacy is likely to be more effective is the proportionality and coherence of these measures with other existing regulatory tools in the EU and abroad, given the global dimension of digital markets and their business models. These proposals come at a time when there is already a live debate within the EEA about the role of digital platforms in the economy and society, including digital taxation and the heavily contested end-to-end encryption of Instant Messaging (IM) services.

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