The Strategist

EU to Create an Online Controller

04/24/2015 - 16:21

The European Union is discussing the creation of a regulatory body to monitor Internet companies. The project’s authors warn that some websites, such as search engines and social networks "have transformed into super-nodes which can acquire systemic importance."
The European Union is discussing the creation of a regulatory body to oversee the activities of Internet companies, which could pose a threat to the economy of the union, writes The Wall Street Journal citing a draft document, which is now being discussed in the EU.

Authors of the project, the sphere of which is beyond the scope of the EU, warned that some websites, such as search engines, platforms for online commerce and social networking, "transformed into super-nodes which can acquire systemic importance" for the economy as a whole.

- Only a small part of the economy in the near future will be able to maintain its independence from them, - the document says. The publication notes that out of the 32 examples of such online platforms listed in the document, only five are located outside the United States.

The document stresses that the lack of understanding (transparency) of how do these platforms work allows them to use their power over the market to the detriment of other companies and consumers that "may pose a risk to the entire European economy."

It is expected that the project will be presented in May. However, before it acquires the force of law, it must be approved by EU member states.

Previously, the Commission brought charges to Google for violating antitrust laws, and opened an antitrust investigation in respect of Android mobile operating system of Google. Antitrust proceedings may result in fines Google for more than $ 6 billion.

Meanwhile, Reuters reported that the nternet giant has gradually become one of the biggest lobbyists in Washington.

In the first quarter of 2015, the company spent record for himself $ 5.5 million to fund politicians. Google takes ninth place in the list of the most generous lobbyists in the United States. In 2014, the cost of Internet Corporation for such purposes amounted to $ 16.8 million.
Google began lobbying in 2007, but never, until now, the company did not spend $ 5.5 million during the quarter. Increased costs are probable the answer to the legal problems of the corporation. In addition, new Google businesses require intensive work with legislators. For example, unmanned vehicles, and broadband internet access are subject to significant restrictions imposed by the regulatory authorities. In this case, having allies in Washington, albeit paid, can not hurt.
The money spent on lobbying this year, went to the restriction of activities "patent trolls", facilitation of the issuance of visas to foreign workers, support the principle of "net neutrality" and tax reform.

Given the pressure which the Internet Corporation is experiencing from lawmakers, we can expect a further increase in spending on building constructive relationships with politicians.