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Digital Markets Act - the FSFE calls for Device Neutrality


On the imminent voting of the Digital Markets Act - the latest EU proposal on internet platform regulation - the FSFE demands device neutrality as a fundamental element for safeguarding consumer protection in open, fair, and contestable digital markets.

While digital devices are a ubiquitous reality in all aspects of life, control over the hardware and software running on them is increasingly being limited by internet platforms, digital services providers, hardware manufacturers, and vendors. The European Commission's Digital Markets Act (DMA) is a regulatory instrument for targeting large internet companies that act as gatekeepers in digital markets. Such gatekeepers may be internet platforms, service providers, manufacturers, and vendors satisfying criteria defined by law. This regulatory initiative is an attempt to create fairer and more competitive markets for online platforms in the EU. On November 22, the European Parliament's leading IMCO committee will vote on its position.

The FSFE urges the Members of the European Parliament in the upcoming vote to safeguard device neutrality principles based on Open Standards and interoperability, securing the interest of consumers for a contestable, open, and competitive digital market in the EU.

Free Software and Device Neutrality

Device neutrality translates as non-discrimination of services and apps by providers, manufacturers, and vendors. The objective of device neutrality is to enable consumers to bypass gatekeepers and enable a fair and non-discriminatory use of Free Software in the application and operating system layers of devices. The FSFE demands the inclusion of the following principles in the DMA legislation:

Device Neutrality principles
Device neutrality principles

Next steps

After the committee voting on Monday, 22 November, the proposal will incorporate the approved amendments. Next up is the plenary voting to achieve the final position of the European Parliament, planned for December. The FSFE will continue to monitor the whole process closely and demand device neutrality to the full extent in the legislative text, so users are empowered to control technology.

"The digital markets will benefit by the regulatory proposal of the DMA. Device neutrality is fundamental for a fair, competitive, and contestable market. We demand stricter consent rules for pre-installed apps, no vendor lock-in, full interoperability, and real-time data portability. Free Software and Open Standards are key to achieve these goals", says Lucas Lasota, the FSFE's Deputy Legal Coordinator.