Deal on EU tech rules possible by June, key lawmaker says

European Union flags fly outside the headquarters of the European Commission in Brussels, Belgium, May 5, 2021. REUTERS/Yves Herman/File Photo

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STRASBOURG, Feb 14 (Reuters) – European Union lawmakers and countries could reach an agreement by the end of June on proposed tech rules forcing online platforms to better police the internet despite their differences in approach, the lawmaker who is leading the negotiations said Monday.

The Digital Services Act (DSA) proposed by EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager obliges Amazon.com Inc, Apple Inc (AAPL.O), Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O) to unit Google and the owner of Facebook Meta (FB.O) to do more to tackle illegal content on their platforms or face fines of up to 6% of global revenue.

The first of its kind in the world, Vestager’s proposal must be approved by EU countries and lawmakers before it can become law.

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“I’m optimistic we can get a deal done before the end of June,” MP Christel Schaldemose said in an interview.

His comments preceded talks with French Digital Affairs Minister Cédric O and European industry chief Thierry Breton on Tuesday, their second meeting on the issue. A third is scheduled for March 15.

Schaldemose said lawmakers want to broaden the scope of what online platforms must do, ban dark schemes that entice people to provide personal data to online businesses, and continue to let companies be regulated where they are based. .

“We are getting into the business models of the platforms. The Council is not so willing to go that far,” she said, citing the divergence over dark patterns.

“The Council wants the ban only for online marketplaces. The Parliament wants a ban on all platforms.”

Schaldemose said countries like Ireland, where Apple, Facebook and Google have their European headquarters, and Luxembourg, where Amazon is based, should continue to oversee companies in accordance with the “country of origin” principle.

“We stick to the country of origin principle more than we do in the Council,” she said, adding that the European Commission could also have a say, while EU countries want a role. more important for the EU executive.

EU lawmakers also want a ban on targeted advertising for minors and also that based on sensitive data like sexual or political orientation in order to comply with the bloc’s privacy rules, while countries in the EU collectively have a less strict position.

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Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by Richard Chang and Jan Harvey

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