Internet Regulation – A tale of two continents

Internet Regulation – A tale of two continents

Internet regulation: Europe vs. USA
Internet Regulation: Can't Obama make another phone call?

The Americans, at least those in the North, and the Europeans have very different opinions on the how and the who of Internet regulation. 

While the FCC in the US are very wary on the misbehavior of their operators, the Europeans seem to be rather more concerned about the content providers.  The Europeans in particular are troubled by privacy and competitive (and tax) concerns when it come to the Internet giants such as Facebook, Google and Apple.  Internet regulation in Europe:

  • Government privacy watchdogs from France, Spain and Italy have in recent weeks joined a group that is investigating Facebook’s privacy controls, officials said, doubling the number of European countries where regulators are analyzing the way Facebook handles the personal information and connections gleaned from more than 300 million users in Europe. At the same time, the European Union’s antitrust regulator in Brussels is examining Apple’s agreements with record labels, as the iPhone maker prepares to launch a subscription music-streaming service that will compete with European players such as Spotify AB.
  • The new Apple case related to music puts the EU in the middle of yet another, new business model that is shaking up the traditional world of record labels, such as Universal Music Group, owned by Vivendi SA of France. The European Commission, the region’s top competition regulator, has sent questionnaires to several record labels seeking information about their dealings with Apple, two people familiar with the matter said Thursday. The regulator is interested in the companies’ deals and correspondence with Apple, as well as their dealings with other music-streaming services, one of the people said. It is concerned that Apple could use its market clout and relations with music labels to pressure them to abandon rival streaming services, one of the people added.

Some might say the Europeans are just out to protect their own interests regarding Internet regulation, but there are some rather valid concerns being floated here.  The US has been so pre-occupied with Net Neutrality, they have taken a back-seat to their Europeans counterparts in addressing content provider issues such as privacy and competition.  I guess if President Obama was concerned he would have made a phone call by now and sorted things out. 

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