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Rights groups call for law allowing US tech giants to be sued under EU laws

Rights groups call for law allowing US tech giants to be sued under EU laws

Brussels: in an open letter to EU lawmakers by civil rights groups in the USA and European Union, the groups have advocated allowing for US tech giants to be sued by users for breaching EU laws. The demand was supported by Privacy International, pan-European consumer group BEUC and a number of academics on Tuesday.

The call by the coalition of 31 groups and academics comes as EU lawmakers and EU countries thrashed out the final points of the Digital Markets Act (DMA) proposed by EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager just over a year ago before it can become law.

"The DMA must enable users, both individually and collectively, to bring enforcement actions for violation of DMA rules before national courts," the group said in an open letter to EU institutions. The law mostly targets large tech companies like Apple, Google, Meta etc, which hold a great share of the market.

The move to challenge the hegemony of companies like Google and Facebook-Meta began in 2020, when European Union leaders unveiled proposals to crimp the power of "gatekeeper" platforms like them, which policymakers argue deserve more oversight given their outsize influence.

The proposed E.U. laws would require the companies to do more to prevent the spread of hate speech and sale of counterfeit merchandise, and disclose more information about how services like targeted advertising work.

Since then, Google has been the subject fo several lawsuits regarding antitrust violations as well as accusations of unfair market monopoly which it is still fighting. Google is being sued in Europe on competition grounds by price comparison service PriceRunner which is seeking at least €2.1 billion in damages.

The EU's competition division ordered the search giant to cease illegal behaviors, after finding that Google gave prominent placement to its own shopping comparison service while simultaneously demoting rivals in organic search results.

The coalition also urged lawmakers and EU countries to let consumer bodies and representatives of civil society take part in processes set out under the draft rules so that their needs would be reflected in the Commission's decisions on the tech giants.

Other signatories of the open letter include U.S.-based Center for Digital Democracy and the Consumer Federation of America, the Civil Liberties Union for Europe, European Digital Rights and academics from the University of Oxford, the Vienna University of Economics and Business and the University of Amsterdam.

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