The EU has proposed new rules to govern data use, artificial intelligence, social media content, and online marketplaces. Brussels has already approved major legislation on privacy and competition policy. Meanwhile, Washington lags far behind.
CEPA’s Digital Innovation Initiative (DII) is tracking major developments in transatlantic tech policy below. Major updates are highlighted in red.
October 4 – Hardware
The European Parliament approves a plan that requires all mobile devices sold in the EU, including smartphones, tablets, and laptops, to use a USB-C charging port. The law is expected to make Apple switch to USB-C ports in all future iPhones sold worldwide.
October 4 – Digital Services Act
The European Council gives final approval for the EU’s Digital Services Act, formally adopting the legislation.
October 4 – Privacy and Digital Rights
The Biden administration released its blueprint for an AI Bill of Rights, outlining five principles seeking to ensure accountability for automated systems. Critics say it is a non-binding white paper that will have little influence.
October 3 – Privacy and Digital Rights
The US Supreme Court agrees to hear Gonzalez v. Google LLC, the first time the court will evaluate liability protections provided to tech platforms by Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. The lawsuit could stop platforms like YouTube from recommending content to users, a critical part of their business model.
October 3 – Privacy and Digital Rights
The US and UK’s “Access to Electronic Data for the Purpose of Countering Serious Crime” agreement entered into force, streamlining the process for law enforcement in each country to request and send data for criminal investigations.
September 29 – Infrastructure and Telecommunications
The US’s Doreen Bogdan-Martin defeated a Russian candidate in an election to lead the UN’s International Telecommunication Union (ITU) for the next four years. The election pitted a Western vision of a democratic, open internet against authoritarian countries’ government-controlled approach.
September 28 – Regulation
The European Commission proposed new liability rules which would allow victims of artificial intelligence-powered software and products to sue for compensation.
September 19 – Hardware
The European Commission proposed an emergency tool to protect supply chains in times of crisis, including requiring the stockpiling of critical materials to develop electronics, including rare earth minerals and semiconductors.
September 16 – Privacy and Digital Rights
The European Commission proposed a Media Freedom act to protect media companies from authoritarian governments. But some press groups expressed concern that the new rules could give regulators too much power to meddle in the free press.
September 15 – Cybersecurity
The US Senate unanimously confirms Nathaniel C. Fick as the inaugural Ambassador at Large for Cyberspace and Digital Policy. Ambassador Fick will lead the US State Department’s Bureau of Cyberspace and Digital Policy which was created in April to negotiate international cybersecurity partnerships.
September 14 – Antitrust
The State of California sued Amazon, accusing the company of anticompetitive business practices. This lawsuit marks the most significant legal challenge the company has faced in the United States, building upon existing legal pressure from European regulators.
September 14 – Competition
A European Union court upheld a record EUR 4.34 billion fine against Google for illegally using its Android mobile phone operating system to secure the dominance of its search engine. The victory came after a pair of stinging court losses in antitrust cases against Intel and Qualcomm.
September 9 – Competition
European Commissioner Thierry Breton announced a consultation on whether large US tech companies should pay a special tax to European telecom companies for use of their networks.
September 8 – Competition
The White House released a set of “Principles for Enhancing Competition and Tech Platform Accountability” designed to reform the US’ key intermediary liability law Section 230. But Congress looks unlikely to enact them into legislation.
September 1 – Privacy
The California State legislature passed the California Age-Appropriate Design Code Act requiring platforms to vet their products for potential threats to child privacy before rolling them out.
September 1 – Competition
The UK opened an antitrust investigation into Microsoft’s planned purchase of video game studio Activision Blizzard.
August 24 – Regulation
California voted to ban the sale of gasoline-powered cars from 2035.
August 23 – Cybersecurity
Twitter deceived regulators about “deficiencies” in its defenses against hackers and spam, according to a whistleblower complaint from its former security chief.
August 22 – Privacy
Noways’ data authority recommends fining Meta for continuing transatlantic data transfers after a European court ruling outlawing them. The US and EU are continuing negotiations for a replacement of Privacy Shield, the now annulled data sharing agreement across the Atlantic.
August 19 – Cybersecurity
Estonia repelled a major cyberattack launched by Russia-aligned hackers, showing how much progress it has made since a similar attack in 2007 paralyzed some of its public institutions.
August 7 – Hardware
The US Senate passed the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 dedicating almost $400 billion over ten years to promote technology fighting climate change, encouraging consumers to buy electric vehicles and jolting utilities to use wind and solar renewables.
August 3 – Competition
The UK’s competition authority approved an $8.6 billion merger between the United States NortonLifeLock and the Czech Republic’s Avast, two leading cybersecurity firms. Significant competition remains in the cybersecurity market, with Microsoft increasing its offerings and McAfee and other small players present, the authorities explained.
August 1 – Privacy
In a ruling that increases the danger of a transatlantic split over abortion data, the European Court of Justice found that data that can be used to reveal a person’s sexual orientation or identity is protected under the continent’s GDPR privacy rules.
July 29 – Hardware
After the Senate, the US House of Representatives passes the Chips and Science Act of 2022, providing $39 billion for semiconductor manufacturing and billions more in tech research. It’s the first major tech policy initiative of the Biden Administration and a rare show of bipartisan consensus.
July 29 – Competition
As investors ponder the depth of a tech slowdown, US tech firms present their second-term earnings, with both Alphabet, Microsoft, and Meta missing estimates. But the results are better than expected and their stocks rise.
July 29 – Competition
US Big Tech firms present their earnings for the second quarter this week. Netflix and Snap had already announced their results, with the former losing subscribers, but fewer than expected, and the latter not “satisfied” with its results. Both Alphabet and Microsoft miss their estimates, but the damage isn’t as bad as many estimators feared. Meta Platforms also share disappointing earnings.
July 28 – Privacy and Digital Rights
The European Commission publishes its annual Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI), showing the Nordics still leading but countries such as Greece and Poland catching up.
July 28 – Competition
The European Commission announces plans to open a new tech office in San Francisco, designed to dialogue with Silicon Valley about compliance with the new Digital Services and Markets Regulations.
July 27 – Competition
The Federal Trade Commission filed suit to block Meta’s acquisition of a small virtual reality company Within, marking Commissioner Lina Kahn’s first major action and a move that pushes the boundaries of antitrust action.
July 21 – Privacy and Digital Rights
The UK and the US sign a law enforcement data pact, with the UK becoming the first European country to enter into such an agreement with the US.
July 18 – Competition
The European Council approves the Digital Markets Act (DMA), marking the final step to passage. It goes into effect in six months.
July 7 – Privacy and Digital Rights
Ireland’s data protection authority orders Meta to stop sending user data from the EU to the US. While data transfers won’t stop immediately, the decision will trigger a vote among European data protection authorities. The announcement comes four months after the EU and the US agreed to a new Privacy Shield, designed to address the concerns around transatlantic data flows.
July 6 – Competition
Germany designates Amazon as “paramount significance for competition,” making it the third large US tech company after Alphabet and Meta to be subject to new German national antitrust rules, which show that national authorities will continue to push their own cases even before the DMA enters into force. Amazon will now be required to share more information with its third-party merchants using its platform, among other obligations.
July 5 – Digital Markets Act / Digital Services Act
The European Parliament formally adopts the landmark Digital Markets Act targeting the largest tech companies, and the Digital Services Act, increasing responsibilities for tech to fight illegal content. The acts will come into force in 2023.
June 30 – Online Commerce
The EU agrees on new rules to regulate cryptocurrencies, with the goal of eliminating their use for money laundering.
June 23 – Privacy and Digital Rights
Italy becomes the third European country after Austria and France to prohibit Google Analytics, judging that it unlawfully transfers data to the United States. The decision underlines the continued uncertainty of transatlantic data flows despite the announcement of a new Privacy Shield deal earlier this spring.
June 21 – Competition
France’s national competition authority approves Google’s proposed commitments to press publishers under the EU’s new copyright rules. The decision comes a year after France’s competition authorities fined the search engine EUR 500 million.
June 16 – Privacy and Digital Rights
The European Commission updates its Code of Practice on Disinformation, requiring social media networks, among other voluntary commitments, to increase cooperation with fact-checkers and allow researchers access to their data.
June 7 – Online Commerce
Two key US Senators propose a bipartisan bill to regulate cryptocurrencies, eliminating taxes on small scare purchases, and opening the way to treating crypto like a regular currency. The full Congress still needs to approve.
June 7 – Privacy and Digital Rights
The European Union’s terrorist content regulation enters into force, requiring social media and other online content platforms to take down content that authorities identify as glorifying or promoting terrorism. In some cases, platforms must act within an hour to remove the content or face a fine.
June 7 – Hardware
The European Union agrees that smartphones and tablets sold in the EU must use a common USB-C charging port, starting in the fall of 2024. Apple sought to keep using its proprietary Lightning charging port.
June 3 – Privacy and Digital Rights
US Congressional leaders released a draft of the American Data Privacy and Protection Act, a bipartisan proposal to create a federal privacy standard. The draft proposal, if successful, would end more than 50 years of deadlock on US privacy rights.
May 31 – Competition
The US Supreme Court suspends a law introduced by the Texas state government which would have prevented social media platforms from removing user content based on political views.
May 17 – Cybersecurity
The Justice Department announces a revised policy that creates an exception for good-faith security researchers to not be prosecuted under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986.
May 16 – Trade and Technology Council
EU and US officials conclude the second Trade and Technology Council meeting in Paris. This forum was initially positioned transatlantic counterweight to China but has shifted a clear focus to combat Russia. Read the final statement here.
May 13 – Cybersecurity
EU bodies agree on the details of the Network and Information Security Directive (NIS2 Directive), a new law forcing critical industries to improve their cyber resilience.
May 11 – Privacy and Digital Rights
The European Commission publishes its draft proposal to combat child sexual abuse online through widespread obligations on major tech platforms to find, report, and remove such content. However, tech executives and some MEPs fear that the Act would strip away basic privacy protections.
May 3 – Privacy and Digital Rights
The European Commission publishes its proposed European Health Data Space, a regulation that would align health data sharing practices across the bloc. Proponents claim it will expand healthcare and innovation and unlock €11 billion in economic gains while critics fear that technical and political challenges will limit its benefits.
May 2 – Competition
German competition authorities designate Meta as a “digital firm of paramount significance,” lowering the threshold for the future anti-trust action.
April 28 – Privacy and Digital Rights
The US, European Commission, and 54 other governments endorse the Declaration for the Future of the Internet, a non-binding pledge to ensure internet freedom, protect privacy rights, and avoid the use of algorithms and mis/disinformation to infringe on civil liberties.
April 26 – Online Commerce
The EU’s top court rules against the Polish government’s effort to strike down a core component of the 2019 Copyright Directive that forces major platforms to check user uploads for pirated content.
April 23 – Digital Services Act
Europe finalizes its signature legislation forcing social media platforms to combat misinformation and restrict certain online ads or face billions in fines.
April 6 – Data Governance Act
The European Parliament approves the rules aimed at increasing data sharing within Europe, paving the way for formal adoption.
April 4 – Cybersecurity
The State Department launches its Bureau of Cyberspace and Digital Policy tasked with negotiating international cybersecurity partnerships.
March 30 – Online Commerce
The European Commission proposes new ecodesign rules, its latest move in an effort to increase the responsibility of online platforms to ensure that products sold online minimize their impact on the environment.
March 29 – Competition
A French court fines Google €2 million for engaging in abusive commercial practices by imposing unfair clauses on independent app developers.
March 25 – Privacy Shield
US President Joe Biden and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen strike an agreement in principle on a revamped “Privacy Shield” data transfer agreement. Details are left to be filled in by the end of the year. Privacy campaigner Max Shrems derides it as “lipstick on a pig.”
March 24 – Digital Markets Act
Europe finalizes its signature legislation to corral what it calls gatekeepers, large US companies such as Google, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Microsoft. All will face extensive new obligations and restrictions – and risk fines up to 20% of their worldwide turnover.
March 11 – Competition
The European Commission opens a case against Google and Facebook for anticompetitive behavior in display advertising.
March 9 – Privacy and Digital Rights
Italy’s data protection authority fines Clearview AI €20 million for privacy violations, orders it to delete all data processed from Italian citizens, and bans it from collecting any facial biometrics.
February 23 – Data Act
The European Commission proposes new rules about transferring data between businesses, governments, and consumers. It aims to ease access to data collected by tech companies. But critics fear increased security risks and building new barriers to reducing competition between major technology firms.
February 10 – Privacy and Digital Rights
The US Senate Judiciary Committee passes the EARN IT Act that would require the scanning of digital devices for Child Sexual Abuse material. Supporters argue that children must be protected, but critics worry about compromising security, encryption, and privacy.
February 8 – European Chips Act
In one of the most ambitious state-funded industrial schemes, the European Commission proposes to spend €43 billion subsidizing the European production of semiconductors.
January 26 – Competition
Intel wins its appeal against a $1.2 billion fine issued by the European Commission in 2009 for anti-competitive behavior, in a major loss for EU competition authorities. The Luxembourg-based General Court which granted the appeal found that the Commission failed to prove that Intel’s actions produced anticompetitive effects.
January 20 – Digital Services Act
The European Parliament approves its version, which goes beyond the original proposal. Parliament wants a ban on dark patterns and introduces strict restrictions on services targeting minors. But it backs away from making Internet Platforms filter their sites or make them liable for products and services offered by third parties.
January 13 – Privacy and Digital Rights
Austria’s data protection authority rules that Google Analytics violates the European privacy GDPR rules, opening the door for similar action by other EU countries.
January 10 – Privacy and Digital Rights
Europe’s data watchdog orders Europol, the EU’s law enforcement agency, to remove all data for individuals unaffiliated with criminal activity, finding that the law enforcement agency’s data policies violate European privacy law.
January 5 – Competition
German competition authorities rule that Google benefits from “paramount significance across markets,” a move to impose restrictions on the search engine.
December 14 – Digital Services Act
The European Parliament’s Internal Market Committee adopts the Act, paving the way for a final Parliamentary vote. The committee version expands on the original proposal by introducing more robust transparency obligations, new provisions against dark patterns, and banning micro-targeting for minors.
December 10 – Data Governance Act
EU official reach an agreement on the Data Governance Act, aimed at easing the reuse of public sector data.
December 9 – Competition
Italy’s competition authority fines Amazon almost €1.13 billion for abusing its dominant position to force third-party merchants to use its warehouse and delivery services.
December 9 – Online Commerce
The European Commission proposes requiring Uber, Deliveroo, and other platforms to treat most gig workers as employees.
December 4 – Digital Markets Act
US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo lashes out against Europe’s proposed legislation, criticizing its “disproportionate” impact on US tech companies.
November 29 – Privacy and Digital Rights/Competition
Italy’s competition authority fines Google and Apple €10 million each for “aggressive practices” in their commercial use of user data.
November 23 – Competition
Italy’s competition authority fines Amazon €68.7 million and Apple €134.5 million for colluding to restrict the resale of Apple products on Amazon.
November 23 – Digital Market Act
The European Parliament’s Internal Market Committee adopts the Act, paving the way for a full parliamentary vote. Compared to the European Commission’s initial proposal, this version reduces the number of gatekeepers while increasing the list of digital markets subject to regulation.
November 10 – Digital Markets Act
Ambassadors from the EU’s Member States adopt their position on the Act, paving the way for trialogue negotiations. Their version reduces the time for designating gatekeepers and expands upon the role of national courts and regulatory authorities.
November 10 – Competition
Google loses an appeal against a €2.8 billion antitrust decision, a major win for Europe’s competition chief, who accused the search engine of leveraging its own price comparison shopping service to gain an unfair advantage over smaller European rivals.
October 21 – Competition
The US reaches a compromise with five European countries after a dispute over taxes on American tech giants.
October 8 – Competition
Governments around the globe agree on a sweeping overhaul of global corporate tax rules, signaling a new approach to tackling the taxation of digital companies in countries where they sell their products. If successful, Europe agrees to drop its plans for a digital levy.
October 1 – Data Governance Act
EU’s Member States adopt their position. They expand on the original Commission proposal by removing references to cloud service providers, adding codes of conduct for “data altruism,” empowering national authorities to share public-held data, and setting moderate penalties for non-compliance.
September 29 – Trade and Technology Council
Europe and the US leaders meet in Pittsburgh and launch a new initiative designed to facilitate transatlantic cooperation. The next meeting is scheduled for May 2022 in Paris.
September 2 – Privacy and Digital Rights
Ireland’s data protection authority fines WhatsApp €225 million over the app’s lack of transparency surrounding its data sharing practices with other Meta companies.
July 22 – Data Governance Act
The European Parliament’s Industry, Research and Energy Committee adopts the Data Act, calling for the establishment of a Data Innovation Advisory Council, expanding the initially proposed oversight body to include academics, private industry, and civil society.
July 1 – Online Commerce
New Value-Added Tax (VAT) rules for online shopping enter into force, requiring marketplaces to collect the tax on behalf of their merchants. Consumers receive extra charges to receive packages.
June 20 – Online Commerce
The European Commission proposes a new regulation that would increase responsibilities for e-commerce marketplaces to ensure that no dangerous products are sold on their platform.
June 3 – Privacy and Digital Rights
June 1 – Digital Markets Act
Lead Rapporteur, MEP Andreas Schwab, submits his draft report on the proposed Act to the European Parliament’s Internal Market Committee. He proposes narrowing the definition of “gatekeepers” to target major US tech firms (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, and Microsoft).
June 1 – Privacy and Digital Rights
Europe’s new copyright law comes into effect, increasing pressure on digital platforms to pay rightsholders to link to their content.
May 28 – Digital Services Act
Lead Rapporteur, MEP Christel Schaldemose, submits her draft report on the proposed Act to the European Parliament’s Internal Market Committee. She calls for making online marketplaces liable for all products listed for sale.
May 12 – Competition
Europe’s General Court dismisses the Commission’s antitrust case against Amazon on the basis that it received preferential tax treatment in Luxembourg, in a blow to Brussel’s antitrust agenda.
May 6 – Privacy and Digital Rights
Microsoft announces that it will store and process EU data within the EU as a result of continued fallout from the Schrems II decision on transatlantic data flows.
April 23 – Infrastructure and Telecommunications
Germany, one of the last holdouts, joins most other European countries in labeling the Chinese telecommunications company a security risk.
April 21 – AI Act
The European Commission publishes its draft proposal to regulate Artificial intelligence. It would designate various types of programming as high and low risk and impose restrictions on “high-risk” AI applications, such as facial recognition.
February 12 – Privacy and Digital Rights
Sweden’s data protection authority issues a €250,000 to police authorities for their use of Clearview AI facial recognition technologies in violation of national data laws.
December 16 – Cybersecurity
The European Commission proposes cybersecurity rules to toughen the bloc’s defenses of critical infrastructure. But a planned certification system proves controversial, with critics fearing it could undermine security.
December 15 – Digital Services Act
The European Commission publishes its draft proposal to oblige platforms to combat illegal content, non-transparent advertising practices, and disinformation. Non-compliant platforms would face fines of up to 6% of annual revenue.
December 15 – Digital Markets Act
The European Commission publishes its draft proposal to monitor and prevent major platforms from engaging in anti-competitive behavior. The proposed Act would ban, among other practices, digital “gatekeepers” from self-preferencing. Platforms could face fines of up to 10% of annual global revenue.
December 10 – Privacy and Digital Rights
France’s data protection authority hands out its largest fines to date, issuing penalties of €100 million to Google and €35 million to Amazon Web Services for failing to obtain user consent to collect personal data.
November 25 – Data Governance Act
The European Commission publishes its draft proposal to facilitate the sharing of non-personal and industrial data across the EU.
October 15 – Infrastructure and Telecommunications
European MEPs label Chinese telecommunications company Huawei a security threat.
October 14 – Privacy and Digital Rights
French courts rule that Microsoft could not transfer personal health data outside of the EU, even though the government had contracted it to host the information.
July 16 – Competition
The European General Court rules in favor of Apple, finding that the US tech firm did not unlawfully benefit from Ireland’s corporate tax laws, denying the European Commission a claim of €13 billion in back taxes.
July 15 – Privacy Shield
The European Court of Justice invalidates the EU-US Privacy Shield agreement, saying that US surveillance violates European privacy rights established under the Europe’s GDPR privacy law. This ruling threatens transatlantic data flows.
June 23 – Online Commerce
Germany’s Federal Supreme Court orders Facebook to stop sharing data across WhatsApp and Instagram.
June 23 – Online Commerce
Norway’s Supreme Court rules in favor of Apple that independent firms violated trademark rules by using cheaper repair parts, in a move condemned by “right to repair” groups.
February 4 – Privacy and Digital Rights
The Irish Data Protection Commission launches a formal investigation into Google over how the company processes user location data.