CEPA

Tracking Tech Policy

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.

2023

January

January 28 – Hardware

In a confidential agreement, the Netherlands and Japan join US restrictions on exporting advanced chip manufacturing equipment to China.

January 27 – Artificial Intelligence

The US and EU sign an agreement to boost research collaboration on the uses of AI in climate, public health, infrastructure, and agriculture policy.

January 25 – Content Moderation

Germany sues Twitter for failure to remove anti-Semitic content.

January 24 – Competition

The US Department of Justice files a lawsuit accusing Google of monopolizing multiple digital advertising technologies.

January 23 – Content Moderation  

France accuses Youtube influencers of promoting dangerous products such as dietary supplements, weight loss programs, cosmetics, and betting services.

January 23 Layoffs

Spotify will lay off around 600 employees, or 6% of its workforce.

January 23 Artificial Intelligence

Microsoft will invest $10 billion in OpenAI’s ChatGPT, a cutting-edge generative AI and popular chat box.

January 20 Layoffs

Google will lay off 12,000 workers (6% of its workforce), the largest layoff in the company’s history.

January 19 – Privacy Rights

Ireland’s Data Protection Committee fines WhatsApp €5.5 million for GDPR violations.

January 18 Layoffs

Microsoft will lay off 10,000 employees, or less than 5% of its workforce. 

January 18 Hardware

European Commission President Ursula Von Der Leyern presented new plans to subsidize clean and green industries in the EU in response to the US Inflation Reduction Act.

January 17 Hardware

British firm Britishvolt building a £3.8 billion EV battery’ factory declares bankruptcy, leaving the UK with a single EV battery factory. 

January 13 – Hardware 

Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin blocks a proposed Ford Motor Co. EV battery factory over concerns of Chinese dominance in the US battery production industry.

January 13 – Online Commerce

The US House of Representatives creates a Subcommittee on Digital Assets, Financial Technology, and Inclusion aiming to set “clear rules of the road” for federal regulation of cryptocurrency. 

January 12 US-UK Comprehensive Dialogue on Technology & Data

The US and UK convene the inaugural meeting of the US-UK Comprehensive Dialogue on Technology & Data, aiming to boost cooperation on data flows, emerging technologies, and telecommunications.

January 12 Privacy and Digital Rights 

France’s data privacy watchdog CNIL fines TikTok $5.4 million for not giving users the ability to easily refuse cookies on tiktok.com.

January 11 – Privacy and Digital Rights

In an open letter, US President Joe Biden calls for strong regulation of tech companies. But he put forward no specific proposals.

January 11 – Hardware

US computer manufacturer Dell announces it will stop using chips made in China by 2024 and will “significantly reduce” its usage of other Chinese-made components.

January 10 Digital Services Act 

TikTok’s CEO meets with EU officials to discuss the social media platforms’ compliance with the Digital Services Act and recent admissions of user data being sent to China.

January 10 Infrastructure and Telecommunications

The European Commission reportedly requests European telecom providers disclose future cloud investment plans before announcing “fair share” legislation that Big Tech criticizes as an internet traffic tax. 

January 9 Cybersecurity

The US Supreme Court allows Meta to sue NSO Group, an Israeli spyware maker, in a ruling that could boost the odds of success for other lawsuits, like Apple’s, against the spyware firm.

January 4 Privacy and Digital Rights

France’s digital privacy watchdog CNIL fines Apple €8 million for deploying targeted advertising tools on French iPhone users without their consent.  

January 4 Cybersecurity

Chinese researchers claim they can now use quantum computers to break the most common form of online encryption in what experts are calling “one of the biggest” moments in the history of computer security.

January 4 Layoffs

Amazon is laying off more than 18,000 employees, or roughly 1% of its workforce, in the biggest staff reduction in the firm’s history. 

January 4 – Cybersecurity 

The New York State Department of Financial Services fines major crypto-exchange Coinbase $50 million for breaking US anti-money laundering laws with “wide-ranging and long-standing [compliance] failures.”

January 4 – Hardware

The US Department of State establishes the Office of the Special Envoy for Critical and Emerging Technology. 

January 4 – Privacy and Digital Rights

In a ruling that could potentially damage Meta’s targeted advertising business model, Ireland’s Data Protection Commission fines the social media platform €390 million for violating Europe’s GDPR rules.

January 3 – Privacy and Digital Rights

Twitter will relax the platform’s longtime ban on political advertising allowing elected officials and advocacy groups to purchase “cause-based” promotions.

January 2 – Cybersecurity

Dutch Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Micky Adriaansens announces the Netherlands will investigate whether to block a Chinese acquisition of a Dutch chips startup.

2022

December

December 30 – Cybersecurity

Numerous US states ban, or are investigating banning, TikTok from the devices of state government agencies and employees.

December 28 – Privacy and Digital Rights

A US appeals court revives a lawsuit targeting Google for violating the privacy of children by tracking their YouTube activity without parental consent.  

December 23 – Privacy and Digital Rights

Ireland’s Data Protection Commission launches an investigation of a breach at Twitter that exposed the email addresses and/or telephone numbers of about 5.4 million Twitter users worldwide.

December 23 – Privacy and Digital Rights

Meta settles for $725 million a long-running US class action lawsuit for allowing third parties, including English data firm Cambridge Analytica, to access user personal data.

December 23 – Hardware

Two major Asian chip and electric vehicle battery manufacturers, TSMC and CATL respectively, announce plans to build their first European factories in Germany.

December 22 – Privacy and Digital Rights

ByteDance, the Chinese parent company of TikTok, admits to “inappropriately obtaining” the user data of US journalists, including IP addresses, in an internal leaks investigation.

December 22 – Privacy and Digital Rights

France’s data privacy watchdog CNIL fines Microsoft EUR 60 million for privacy violations stemming from the company’s Bing search engine’s cookies policy.

December 22 – Hardware

UK international trade secretary Kemi Badenoch joins the EU in condemning the Inflation Reduction Act as protectionist for excluding British and EU-made electric cars from US tax benefits.

December 20 – Competition

Amazon officially strikes a deal with the European Commission to settle antitrust charges about favoring its own products on its marketplace. The deal avoids billions of euros of potential fines. 

December 19 – Hardware

The US Treasury Department, under pressure from European countries, delays proposed guidance on sourcing materials for electric vehicle batteries required by the Inflation Reduction Act until March.

December 19 – Competition

The European Commission accuses Meta of unfairly leveraging its social media network to send classified ads to Facebook Marketplace, potentially leading to changes in the company’s business practice and billions of euros of fines.

December 19 – Privacy and Digital Rights

The US Federal Trade Commission settles with Epic Games, creator of Fortnite, over violations of a children’s online privacy law and use of deceptive marketing. The settlements require Epic to pay $520 million in fines and change certain settings and interfaces.

December 19 – Digital Services Act

European Parliament President Roberta Metsola invites Twitter owner Elon Musk to testify before the EU Parliament for a “frank exchange” about the social media platform’s content moderation policies.

December 16 – Digital Markets Act

Apple reportedly will reduce fees and open up its app store to comply with the EU’s Digital Markets Act.

December 16 – Cybersecurity

The US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency discovers that Russian military hackers, known as Fancy Bear or APT28, infiltrated a US satellite network used in US critical infrastructure.

December 15 – Privacy and Digital Rights

The EU adopts the “European declaration on digital rights” blueprint for legal protections to be enacted over the next decade.

December 15 – Hardware

The Biden administration blacklists chipmaker YMTC, China’s largest memory chip producer, and 36 other major firms in China’s artificial intelligence chip industry, the latest escalation of US efforts to block China’s access to high-end computer chips. 

December 15 – Cybersecurity

Meta bans at least seven surveillance-for-hire firms and calls for increased government action to counter private companies who secretly track users.

December 14 – Content Moderation

Israel’s outgoing Communications Minister Yoaz Hendel proposes regulations, based on the EU’s Digital Services Act, aimed at moderating offensive and illegal content on social media.

December 14 – Privacy and Digital Rights

The OECD adopts the world’s first international agreement on privacy safeguards for personal data accessed by governments for “national security and law enforcement purposes.” The US reportedly floated a clause excluding its digital surveillance practices, but European objections led to the measure being dropped. 

December 14 – Cybersecurity

The US Federal Bureau of Investigation seizes 48 websites and charges six people accused of allowing paying users to launch powerful distributed denial-of-service, or DDoS, cyberattacks.

December 13 – Regulation

EU member states agree to implement the OECD’s proposed global minimum corporate tax of 15% on companies with more than €750 million in annual turnover. 

December 13 – Privacy and Digital Rights

The EU issues a draft adequacy decision endorsing the new EU-US Data Privacy Framework. A final EU adequacy decision, expected by July 2023, will likely be challenged in the European Court of Justice.

December 13 – Hardware

China files a complaint at the World Trade Organization protesting US export controls on advanced chips.

December 13 – Hardware

Japan and the Netherlands plan to join the US in restricting exports of advanced chips to China. 

December 12 – Privacy and Digital Rights

Twitter disbands the Trust & Safety Council, an advisory group of roughly 100 independent researchers and activists consulted on online safety issues.

December 8 – Privacy and Digital Rights

The Court of Justice of the European Union rules that Google must remove data from online search results if users can prove it is inaccurate in a case concerning the “right to be forgotten” online.

December 8 – Cybersecurity

The Greek parliament is set to approve a ban on commercial spyware that includes a two-year minimum prison sentence for the use, sale, or distribution of spyware and new safeguards for legal wiretaps.

December 8 – Competition

The US Federal Trade Commission sues to bar Microsoft from acquiring video game company Activision Blizzard, citing competition concerns. Experts view the lawsuit as a test of FTC Chair Lina Khan’s push to greatly expand US antitrust enforcement powers.

December 7 – Hardware

US Undersecretary for Industry and Security Alan Estevez says that China has relented and will allow inspection of its companies that use US advanced chip technology. Without inspections, the companies faced being put on a US blacklist.

December 6 – Cybersecurity 

Russian state-owned bank VTB suffers the largest cyberattack in its history, which officials described as “an unprecedented cyberattack from abroad.”

December 6 – Competition

According to a Financial Times scoop, Amazon will settle an anti-competition probe with the EU Commission by, among other changes, increasing the visibility of other companies’ products in Amazon’s “buy box.” The agreement would allow Amazon to avoid fines of up to 10% of global revenue.

December 6 – Hardware

Taiwan Semiconductor (TSMC) triples its investment to build a new Arizona chip factory to $40 billion. Apple CEO Tim Cook confirms Apple will use chips from the plant as the company plans to move production out of China.

December 6 – Privacy and Digital Rights

The European Data Protection Board ruled that Meta should stop using users’ data to sell personalized ads, potentially upending the firm’s core business. The social media firm also could face millions of euros in fines.

December 5 – Competition

Meta threatens to remove news from Facebook if the US Congress passes the proposed “Journalism Competition and Preservation Act” which would force the social media network to pay fees to media outlets for their content.

December 5 – Privacy and Digital Rights

Italy’s privacy watchdog fines Clubhouse, an audio-based social media app that gained popularity during COVID-19 lockdowns, 2 million euros for privacy violations.

December 5 – Trade and Technology Council

Officials from the EU and US meet at the University of Maryland for the third ministerial meeting of the TTC, producing a collection of “quiet victories,” but failing to settle big disputes over domestic electric car subsidies and Internet regulation.

December 2 – Infrastructure and Telecommunications

Developers of the world’s first fiber-optic cable across the Arctic seabed secure their first investment for the $1.15 billion project. The cable aims to link Europe and Asia and cut delays in data transmission between the continents by 30%.

November

November 30 – Competition

One hundred thirty thousand UK businesses file a class-action lawsuit against Google alleging the company’s dominance of online advertising deprived them of “billions in advertising revenue.” 

November 30 – Digital Services Act

EU Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton warns Twitter owner Elon Musk in a video call that the social media network must “significantly increase efforts” to comply with the European content moderation rules.

November 29 – Hardware

The EU agrees on a new General Product Safety Regulation which places additional responsibilities and liability on e-commerce marketplaces for dangerous products. 

November 28 – Cybersecurity and Online Commerce

Kraken, a cryptocurrency exchange, agrees to pay $360,000 in a settlement with the US Treasury Department for violating US sanctions on Iran. This follows Treasury fining crypto exchange Bittrex $24 million for sanctions violations.

November 28 – Privacy and Digital Rights

Ireland’s Data Protection Commission fines Meta 265 million euros for GDPR violations stemming from a 2021 data breach.

November 24 – Cybersecurity 

The US Federal Communications Commission bans the import or sale of phones, cameras, and Wi-Fi routers made by Chinese firms Huawei and ZTE citing “an unacceptable risk to [US] national security.”

November 23 – Cybersecurity 

The European Parliament suffers a cyberattack shortly after MEPs overwhelmingly backed a non-binding resolution to designate Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism.

November 23 – Hardware

The EU gives final approval to a regulation mandating a common charger for all mobile devices by fall 2024, forcing Apple and other smartphone manufacturers to adopt the USB-C port.

November 22 – Cybersecurity 

Meta acknowledges that the US military used fake Facebook and Instagram accounts to amplify pro-US messaging in the Middle East and Russia. Experts consider the operation “the most extensive case of covert pro-Western” use of social media to date.

November 22 – Competition

The UK launches an 18-month investigation into Apple and Google’s dominance of mobile browser and app store markets in the country.

November 21 – Privacy and Digital Rights

Digital rights activist Tanya O’Carroll sues Meta over Facebook’s use of “surveillance advertising.” The lawsuit, filed in the UK, seeks a declaration that Meta violated the UK GDPR.

November 17 – Cybersecurity 

The UK blocks a Chinese firm from purchasing Britain’s largest microchip factory under the authority of the UK’s new National Security and Investment Act.

November 17 – Infrastructure and Telecommunications

The EU agrees to spend six billion euros to build a new satellite internet system intended to provide secure communication networks and increased high-speed broadband coverage.

November 14 – Privacy and Digital Rights

Italy’s Data Protection Agency bans facial recognition systems that rely on biometric data with an exception in judicial investigations and “fighting crime.” The European Parliament is considering a similar ban in the EU’s upcoming Artificial Intelligence Act.

November 10 – Cybersecurity

The European Commission announces two new cyber defense plans to combat a “deteriorating security environment” for EU energy networks, transport infrastructure, and space projects. 

November 9 – Cybersecurity

Germany blocks Chinese firms from investing in two German computer chip factories, citing the need to protect “critical production areas.”

November 8 – Competition 
The European Commission opens an investigation into Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard in response to concerns that the deal could reduce competition in console and PC distribution markets.

November 8 – Privacy and Digital Rights

A European Parliamentary committee releases a report calling for the EU to receive increased power to combat spyware.

November 4 – Privacy and Digital Rights

Twitter announces massive layoffs as advertisers flee the platform.

November 3 – Competition

Amazon, Lyft, and Stripe announce layoffs as Big Tech reels from a series of declining earnings reports. 

November 1 – Cybersecurity

Representatives from 36 countries and the European Union meet in Washington to strategize ways to combat “ransomware” including setting up a joint task force next year.

October

October 27 – Privacy and Digital Rights

Elon Musk completes his takeover of Twitter. Although he reassures European policymakers that he will keep the company’s strong content moderation rules, he also has signaled that he might allow banned users including former US President Donald Trump back on the platform.

October 25 – Competition
The European Parliament held hearings on platform work, featuring the Uber whistleblower who supported efforts by lawmakers to force platforms to hire almost all gig workers as full-timers.

October 18 – Competition

Meta agrees to sell Giphy, a search engine for GIFs, responding to an order from the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). The case represents the first time antitrust investigators have forced a major tech platform to accept a breakup, although it is partial. 

October 13 – Infrastructure and Telecommunications

The UK orders its telecom network operators to remove equipment made by Chinese firm Huawei from their 5G networks by the end of 2027 and from sites sensitive to national security by January 2023. The new rules implement the UK’s 2020 decision to ban Huawei from its 5G networks.

October 7 – Infrastructure and Telecommunications

Europe’s telephone regulators BEREC publishes research criticizing proposals to make Netflix, Google, and other data-consuming platforms pay the continent’s telecom operators for their Internet infrastructure.

October 7 – Data and Privacy 

President Biden signs an executive order establishing a new transatlantic data privacy framework. The order seeks to assuage European privacy concerns by setting new requirements for US intelligence collection and creating a US court to review and redress violations. But privacy activists are already threatening to file a new case before European courts to invalidate a transatlantic data deal.

October 7 – Digital Markets Act

MEP Andreas Schwab of Germany announces the DMA will be published in the EU’s Official Journal on Wednesday, October 12. The DMA will enter into force 20 days later, beginning a six-month period adjustment period before the rules apply. Compliance enforcement will begin around March 2024 after gatekeeper platforms are designated in mid-2023. 

October 7 – Hardware

The Biden administration releases two sweeping export control rules aimed at limiting China’s access to dual-use semiconductor chips made with US technology. The rules are a significant escalation of US efforts to stymie Chinese tech innovation and will most likely face backlash in Europe.

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

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

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

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 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

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

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 future anti-trust action.

April

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

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 of up to 20% of their worldwide turnover. 

March 11 – Competition

The European Commission opens a case against Google and Facebook for anti-competitive 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

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

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.

2021

December

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 officials 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

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

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

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

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

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

The European Commission proposes new rules to ease digital identification across its 27 member states.  

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

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 the continued fallout from the Schrems II decision on transatlantic data flows.

April

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

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.

2020

December

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

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

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

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 Europe’s GDPR privacy law. This ruling threatens transatlantic data flows.

June

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

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.