Over the weekend, the UK government announced that a new “Digital Markets Unit” (DMU) will be established within the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to regulate tech giants in online advertising. Part of a broader response to the CMA’s digital advertising study released in July, the UK government agreed in principle with the report and offered a plan to move forward on its recommendations.
The DMU will be equipped with pro-competitive tools, including those Public Knowledge has long championed, such as mandating interoperability, control over data, and giving users a true choice in what services they use. The government response also includes a new code of conduct for platforms funded by digital advertising, which will be enforced by the DMU through financial and injunctive penalties.
The UK government’s response draws from Public Knowledge’s comments (filed in conjunction with the Consumer Federation of America) in the CMA’s July call for information. The comments called for a regulatory focus on firms with bottleneck power and included interoperability and nondiscrimination as essential remedies in the new regulator’s toolkit.
The following can be attributed to Alex Petros, Policy Counsel at Public Knowledge:
“The United Kingdom has given American policymakers a clear roadmap to follow. First, conduct a thorough study of digital platform markets and how existing competition tools have proven inadequate to regulate them. Then, create a specialized regulator who can focus on these markets and actively promote competition in an increasingly important sector of our economy. American policymakers have seen the same evidence on the problematic power of Big Tech platforms and have the same insufficient regulatory and enforcement tools. We have the studies—from the Stigler Center, and most recently the House Antitrust Subcommittee. Now, it’s time for America to launch its own specialized regulator.”
You can learn more about our calls for a specialized regulator on our Platform Competition issue page.