UK needs to tackle 'bullying' tactics by tech giants, says Government

Keiligh Baker's picture

Britain needs to overhaul its competition rules to tackle the dominance of tech giants like Facebook, Google and Amazon, and increase consumer choice, a government review concluded.

A six month review of the sector has concluded tech giants like Facebook and Google should face greater competition. The report said there needed to be quicker and simpler enforcement when a company used "bullying tactics", abusing its dominant position in the market.

A new competition unit with expertise in the sector should be set up, the independent review said, and innovation should be encouraged by giving people control over their own data so they could switch between rival services and platforms easily.

Smaller companies should also have access to the data that social media platforms hold on their users, it recommended.

Harvard professor Jason Furman, who chaired the British government review, said the digital sector had created substantial benefits but they had come at the cost of the increasing dominance of a few companies.

“My panel is outlining a balanced proposal to give people more control over their data, give small businesses more of a chance to enter and thrive, and create more predictability for the large digital companies,” he said on Wednesday. “These recommendations will deliver an economic boost driven by UK tech start-ups and innovation that will give consumers greater choice and protection.”

Finance minister Philip Hammond said he would set out government measures to ensure digital markets are competitive later this year.

TechUK, which represents more than 900 tech companies that collectively employ 700,000 people, said the report contained some positive suggestions, but it needed further detail on what any proposed code of conduct for big tech might look like.

It also said there had to be a full assessment of the risks and benefits of opening up data sets.