Britain pushes tough tech rules under new digital watchdog

Manama, May 6 (BNA): Big tech companies such as Google and Facebook will have to comply with strict British rules under a new digital watchdog aimed at giving consumers more choice online – or risk hefty fines.

The UK government on Friday outlined what powers it plans for the Digital Markets Unit, a regulatory body created last year to take over the tech giants’ dominance.

She did not specify when the rules would go into effect, saying only that the legislation would come “in due course,” according to the Associated Press.

Authorities in Britain and across Europe have led global pressure to seize control of tech companies amid growing concerns about their outsized influence.

The new watchdog will enforce rules that make it easier for people to switch between iPhone and Android devices or between social media accounts without losing their data and messages.

The British government’s digital department said smartphone users will have a broader choice of search engines and more control over how their data is used.

Tech companies should warn small businesses that do much of their business online about changes to algorithms that could affect web traffic and revenue.

The government said the watchdog would also have the power to resolve price disputes between online platforms and news publishers to ensure media companies receive fair pay for their content.

Tech companies will face fines of up to 10% of their annual global revenue for breaking the rules, which for the largest companies will amount to billions of dollars.

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