France is Pushing for Big Changes to proposed EU Tech Regulation that could hit US Tech companies harder and Apple Specifically
It's being reported this today that France is pushing for the EU’s upcoming regulations on Big Tech to be changed so that member states could wield more power to punish bad behaviour and police more types of content, according to the Financial Times.
Cedric O, the French minister for the digital economy, has met with senior EU officials and members of the European parliament in recent weeks to push France’s case. On Wednesday he met Thierry Breton, the European commissioner in charge of the upcoming legislation.
Breton told the Financial Times: "We are getting pretty active in terms of talking to various people about the upcoming tech regulation. Getting these laws passed is a major objective of ours for when France next holds the rotating presidency of the EU Council next year.” He added: "They touch on vitally important subjects both for our economies and democracies."
Separately, France is also pushing for the DSA to widen beyond illegal content to the policing of harmful content and disinformation. Cedric O stated: "We think the text needs to be broadened to include other types of problematic content. If there is no legal framework there is nothing to stop Twitter or Facebook from censoring speech they do not like."
The expansion of the DSA has taken on new importance after Facebook and Twitter banned President Donald Trump, prompting EU leaders to wonder if a legal framework should underpin such decisions. For the full story, read the report by the Financial Times written by Javier Espinoza in Brussels and Leila Abboud in Paris.
Back in May 2020 Cedric O had a run in with Apple over their COVID app that needed Apple's co-operation which never came. Cedric O at the time was angry over the issue and reportedly stated that "they'll remember that" referring to France.
We posted a follow-up report on this issue in late September titled "France Seeks Payback for Apple refusing to Assist their Native Contact Tracing App by proposing a new EU Law to Force Apple's hand." The report noted that the European Union (EU) was reportedly set to consider new laws that would prohibit mobile device makers, like Apple, from restricting access to the NFC technology in their products.
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So while the newly proposed regulations are bound to hit all U.S. tech companies, we specifically know that France will use them to strike back at Apple, going by their past statements on record. The other EU countries should ensure that France doesn't abuse the new regulations as a means of payback to tech companies that don't bow to France's every command.