Britain, Sweden Urge Caution as EU Crafts Internet Regulationsby
14 Governments Push Against Earlier French, German Calls
EU Should Avoid Uniform Rules for Online Platforms, States Say
The U.K., Sweden and 12 other European Union nations are urging caution on any new rules on Internet services, lining up against earlier French and German calls for curbs on the growing power of Google and other online companies.
Regulators "should refrain from one-size-fits-all regulation" for so-called online platforms and consider alternatives before “adding new burdensome” laws, the European governments said in the letter addressed to the Netherlands, which currently holds the EU presidency and leads any legislative negotiations.
Seeking tougher scrutiny of search engines, social media and app stores, the European Commission is expected to say this week that online platforms may no longer avoid rules that govern other industries such as telecommunications and broadcasting. The EU wants to stoke the region’s online economy with proposals it will publish on May 25.
France and Germany previously called on EU officials to target Alphabet Inc.’s Google, Amazon.com Inc., Facebook Inc. and Apple Inc. for extra regulation. Google’s search, phone and advertising businesses are being investigated by the EU’s antitrust arm, which is also looking at tax deals offered to Apple and Amazon. Germany is probing Facebook over its privacy terms.
The letter was also signed by Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Poland and Slovenia.