Google has faced a lot of scrutiny in Europe. Whether it's finding fault with Google being the default search provider on Android phones to considering a ban on face recognition in public spaces, the EU generally takes a very pro-consumer focus on things. Now a series of working documents have surfaced that indicate the European Commission is considering a number of proposals that affect big tech — including a requirement that users be allowed to remove any pre-installed applications on a device.
The guidelines are part of a draft of the European Commission’s upcoming Digital Services Act, which highlights dubious activities by big tech companies that the EU considers to be unfair. Along with forcing companies to allow users to remove pre-installed apps, another measure under consideration is a ban on "self-preferencing" activities such as Google ranking competing services and websites lower than its own products in search.
Arguably one of the biggest deals in the documents is a statement that prohibits "gatekeepers" from using personal data for commercial purposes — unless the companies make that same data available to "business users seeking to become active in the same commercial activities." This so-called prohibition of exclusive use of data has the potential to put the brakes on data collection for good.
None of these measures have even been put to a vote yet. Parliamentary committees are still in the process of drafting these bills in the hopes of presenting them before the end of the year. I guess this doesn't bode well for European approval of Google's Fitbit acquisition.
- Financial Times