America builds, Europe regulates. This has been the prevailing sentiment for some time concerning technology. However, US lawmakers are increasingly concerned with the way EU regulations are hindering tech companies and even suppressing American values.
This growing pushback is especially pertinent as just this week the EU announced an investigation into Elon Musk’s X platform, demanding censorship.
A cross-party coalition of US legislators has expressed concerns to President Joe Biden regarding the European Union’s approach to regulating technology companies. According to a document obtained by Reuters, these lawmakers suggest that the EU’s policies disproportionately affect US firms while largely exempting Chinese and European entities.
The European Union’s Digital Markets Act (DMA) has identified five major American tech giants – Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, Meta, and Microsoft – as principal operators in this domain. Beginning in March 2024, these companies, along with TikTok’s parent company ByteDance, will be mandated to ensure compatibility of their messaging applications with competitors’ offerings and allow users the freedom to choose preferred apps on their devices.
This group of 21 House Representatives voiced their apprehension in the letter, stating that the EU’s regulations might undermine America’s economic and security interests. They urged President Biden to engage with EU officials to guarantee unbiased implementation of these rules. The letter emphasized, “Securing our leadership in this sector is imperative for our economy and American workers,” highlighting the potential risks to the US economy, its digital leadership, and consumer security caused by labeling US companies as key players.
“We commend your efforts at the Trade and Technology Council and encourage you to maintain the critical relationship between Europe and the United States,” the letter states. “But we are disappointed by the lack of a strong coordinated U.S. government in response to the clear targeting of U.S. companies by EU policies, especially under the DMA.”
Some analysts regard Europe as a forerunner in technology regulation. The DMA is the EU’s efforts to specifically address the dominance of Big Tech and the Digital Services Act (DSA) is aimed at policing online speech.
However, the letter questions the absence of a similar focus on Chinese companies like Alibaba, Huawei, and Tencent, as well as European firms in various sectors, including retail, content-sharing, payment services, and telecommunications.
The letter’s signatories, including Democrats like Representative Lou Correa and Republicans such as Thomas Massie, are pressing President Biden to secure assurances from EU legislators that the DMA won’t be misused against American firms.
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