EU going after the bigs

My prediction is they better be careful what they wish for. Companies are much more agile than government bureaucrats and this kind of thing will just have these large companies pull out and simultaneously form small “independent” companies (where it will be nearly impossible to track the linkages) and since they will now apparently be small companies, they’ll be much less regulated.

They have been doing this for years. Google and Amazon have faced dozens of fines for breaking the law here.

The problem Big Tech has here is that they seem to think that the law doesn’t apply to them. Then they act all surprised when they get taken to court. But it isn’t just Big Tech, Philips was found to have worked a cartel on incandescent light bulbs with others and faced a stiff fine 2 years ago.

Well my point is not that there isn’t a problem. My point is that rules are made to “gather a result.” So if the result is to be smaller companies get favourable treatment, then all of a sudden all companies will find a way to appear to be small. i.e. The law of unintended consequences.

I has nothing to do with size. There are plenty of conglomerates in Europe that do business without constantly attracting the attention of authorities, at least not at the same level as Big Tech, but they ignore the laws - E.g. there are very strict rules on political advertising in most of Europe - when they can run adverts, who can run adverts, how much they can spend. Facebook and Google ignored this and, allegedly, accepted advertising from outside the country where the election was taking place (illegal), that wasn’t issued through one of the parties involved (illegal) outside the political advertising window (illegal) and did not issue a transparency report on who spent how much (illegal - each party has a maximum limit that they can spend on advertising for an election).

They were caught out with Brexit, the German and French elections. There are other areas where they have questionable practices that are illegal in Europe (the collection, retention and selling of data, for example). If you break the law on a regular, daily(?) basis, at some point the law is going to come knocking on your door. Should Big Tech be excused from following the law, just because they are big?

I find some services provided by Big Tech useful, but because that doesn’t mean I will put up with them breaking the law, just so I can continue using them.

Well I would tend to disagree, if you actually read the article. Allow me to quote:

Half of which Apple could buy outright with cash and not even blink. I think size matters, and I presume that these governments are more concerned with wanting to have some of that cash than they are with the perception of enforcing the law… that is just a veneer to get at the cash.

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I think it has everything to do with size and the fact they are American companies – EU likes to get money from them

US companies like to ignore EU law and then act all hurt when they get hauled over the coals.

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If the EU wasn’t so restrictive (to a fault) there wouldn’t be so much trouble. The good news for US Tech companies is that there will likely not be any competition for them from EU companies

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The EU is set up to protect consumers, by ensuring products are of high quality and it protects the consumer from harm, allowing them more freedom.

But that means that the citizens come first and big business takes a seat in the second row, meaning more regulation to protect consumers from harm.

Take the food regulations, the USA is upset with Europe, because they want to export meat to Europe, but the US chickens don’t reach the standard for human consumption in Europe. A lot of US cattle become growth hormones, which is illegal in Europe, it goes against animal welfare standards and is the EU classes it as inappropriate for human consumption. Similarly, US chicken is often washed in chlorine, that is illegal and classes the washed meat as not fit for human consumption, the reason for the washing is that the hygiene standards are lower in the USA and the chlorine is used to kill bacteria, as far as my research led me.

In Europe, the hygiene laws are much stricter and the animal welfare laws as well, meaning that the meat doesn’t need to be decontaminated before use (I worked for nearly 10 years in the meat production industry in Germany).

In talks with the UK, the US is not trying to improve its product, making it fit for human consumption in the EU, instead it is crying foul and trying to get the UK to lower its quality standards to allow for the import of chlorinated chicken. With Brexit and the UK Government’s refusal this week to enshrine food safety standards into law, it looks like the UK might be a future customer for US chlorinated chicken.

There are similar protections in other industries, which companies out of the USA and, for example, China ignore, then find out that they are facing bans, fines or other censury action. Just the USA companies tend to be bigger, more well known brands and they kick up a stink when it happens.