Japan plans on putting in place, tighter anti-trust regulations for Big Technology brands and their data policies
Amid growing concerns about monopoly practices and the handling of personal data, the latest regulations could come from the government of Japan. There are plans to set up a new system to scrutinise big tech companies like Facebook and Google, and set regulations for unacceptable practices of data usage. As per a presentation made at a government advisory panel on Wednesday, Reuter reports that the new regulator will examine competitive practices, the protection of personal data, and make anti-trust recommendations. It will also draw up new guidelines to evaluate whether any new mergers and acquisitions will lead to a monopoly on messaging or personal data. The plans are to have the new panel operational in the next few months, but there is still uncertainty about the exact time of its launch.
This new move is Japan’s way of being a part of the rising global trend toward tighter anti-trust regulations for major technology companies. Their dominance of social media has created situations where a handful of brands today seem to have full control over search, social media data and e-commerce. The discussion during the presentation was from Japanese bureaucrats, elaborating how Facebook, Google, Amazon.com, the Alibaba Group and China’s top search engine Baidu Inc have taken slow control by expanding into payment systems, retail shops, self-driving cars, drones, and interconnected devices. While the growth of the digital economy does have some merits, a handful of big technology companies should not be allowed to abuse their influence with arbitrary search results, high fees, sudden changes to terms of usage, and unfair contracts with suppliers. The recent instances of the EU fining Google and Facebook for anti-trust led violations, and the resulting action taken against them. Over the last few days, India has also made decisions on these activities, and Germany’s anti-trust watchdog ordered Facebook to curb its data collection practices in a landmark ruling. Facebook has said it will appeal the decision.
The move towards curbing unchecked data malpractices started last year with Cambridge Analytica scandal in which tens of millions of Facebook profiles were harvested without their users’ consent.