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Alphabet : Google steps up campaign against EU push for tough new tech rules

10/28/2020 | 02:47pm EST
FILE PHOTO: Small toy figures are seen in front of Google logo in this illustration picture

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Alphabet Inc unit Google has launched a 60-day strategy to counter the European Union's push for tough new tech rules by getting U.S. allies to push back against the EU's digital chief and spelling out the costs of new regulations, according to a Google internal document.

The European Commission will publish rules called the Digital Services Act (DSA) on December 2, after which they will need to be reconciled with proposals from EU countries and the European Parliament before they become legislation.

The proposal has triggered intense lobbying from U.S. tech giants and even some European tech peers worried about the impact on their business models.

The objective is to "remove from the Commission proposal unreasonable constraints to our business model, our ability to improve our products or roll out new features/services," the document, dated October and seen by Reuters, said.

When asked about the document, Google said new rules should take into account that people and companies are asking more from tech companies, rather than less.

"As we've made clear in our public and private communications, we have concerns about certain reported proposals that would prevent global technology companies from serving the growing needs of European users and businesses," Karan Bhatia, vice president, global government affairs and public policy, said.

The paper proposed increasing the pushback against European Commissioner for internal market Thierry Breton, who is in charge of the DSA, by reaching out to the U.S. government and embassies with the message that the new rules threaten transatlantic relations.

It also suggested playing on potential concerns at the Commission's competition unit by saying the DSA threatens its power. Another leg of the strategy is to spell out the costs to consumers and businesses.

The 18-page document also proposed enlisting as allies EU countries and European online companies such as Allegro, Trivago, booking.com, Zalando and REWE.

(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; edting by Edward Tobin)

By Foo Yun Chee

© Reuters 2020
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