Labour MEP Alex Agius Saliba and German Greens MEP Alexandra Geese have asserted that big corporations like Apple, Google and Facebook may be regulated in the public interest despite the fact these large tech firms are the new public utilities of our day.
Agius Saliba noted that lobbyists, particularly from large digital companies, would frequently inform MEPs that regulating these businesses and their ecosystems is a very challenging undertaking.
After working on the Digital Markets Act and the Digital Services Act, he stated, “we proved that as lawmakers, with the benefit of regulating the internal market and representing the 27 member states, we can finally utilise our weight to regulate the ecosystem.”
When we talk about Facebook, Google, and Amazon, these are the modern public utilities, he said, adding that they influence our fundamental human rights, our thinking, our purchasing decisions, and how we perceive advertisements.
Geese continued by saying that the EU does not intend to restrict any legitimate online content. She addressed major online platforms, saying, “We just want to know what you’re doing.”
“These businesses are fully aware of us. They gather colossal amounts of data and detailed profiles of each and every one of us. They have been used by outside players to influence the 2016 elections and bring about Brexit, demonstrating their ability to manipulate society,” she said.
On the right to disconnect, Agius Saliba stressed that the goal is not to apply a one-size-fits-all approach to the legislation.
For an office worker with typical working hours, it is simpler to control the right to disconnect than it is to do so for a doctor, nurse, or journalist. This degree of flexibility will be there, but it is important to maintain the minimal standards, security measures, and fundamental rights of every employee.
Geese continued by saying that a person needs legal protection more the less control they have over their personal and professional lives. “It’s crucial that this legislation have some wiggle room.”
You can watch the full interview here.