UK hosts G7 competition leaders to discuss ways to rein in Big Tech

G7 big tech summit

The UK is hosting competition leaders from G7 countries to discuss how to rein in Big Tech companies and encourage competition in digital markets.

The G7 Digital Competition Enforcers Summit brings the competition heads from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, UK the US together to discuss how to bolster enforcement actions, including legislative reforms. 

The two-day event in London, taking place on the 29 and 30 November 29 and 30th, will also see input from G7 guest countries Australia, India, South Africa and South Korea.

“Too much market power in hands of too few firms” 

The summit, arranged by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), comes amid growing regulatory scrutiny of tech giants and the sway they hold over digital markets.

For example, Google in 2017 was found to be redirecting visitors on its site to its own shopping service, Google Shopping. It was fined €2.4bn by EU regulators and this year it lost its appeal. 

This summit aims to find collaborative ways to prevent anti-competitive moves online and promote healthy competition. The work that will be done by the G7 competition authorities on Big Tech oversight is being jointly published in a compendium, which outlines issues in digital markets and highlights approaches and tactics. One will find studies, enforcement actions, steps to develop specialist teams staffed with technical experts and more in it. 

Andrea Coscelli, chief executive of the CMA, said: “Currently, too much market power is concentrated in the hands of too few firms. Whether in online shopping, web searches or social media, companies like Apple, Google, Amazon and Facebook exert an unprecedented level of influence over our lives.“ 

She added: “As the leaders of G7 competition authorities, we recognise that joint action across international jurisdictions is needed to ensure Big Tech’s dominance is not harmful to people and businesses, wherever they may call home.”  

UK awaits Digital Markets Unit 

To oversee competition concerns in the digital market, the CMA established the Digital Markets Unit (DMU). It is aimed at enabling consumers to get better control over their data, promote online competition and crackdown on unfair practices.

However, the DMU was launched in shadow form back in April this year and the government is currently working on legislation that will give it the power to oversee and enforce the upcoming regulations on Big Tech firms.