Last year, the European Union passed a digital market law aimed at regulating the internet and allowing smaller players to compete with tech giants. Her Margrethe Vestager, the European Union’s competition commissioner, has challenged big tech in several high-profile antitrust cases in the past, and digital market law is a major threat to companies acting as gatekeepers. Said to set the rules of the game.
Countries often struggle to keep up with the dominance of Big Tech, and anti-competitive laws are often enacted too slowly. The question is whether existing laws can effectively address the potential dominance of the metaverse by Big Tech, or whether new country-specific laws need to be created for this purpose.
Big Tech & the Metaverse Part 1 – Will Tech Giants Become Gatekeepers of the Metaverse?
Experts agree that existing laws are inadequate to address the potential dominance of Big Tech players. Samir Dhanrajani, President of 3AIexplains that under the proposed digital market law, Apple would be forced to open up the App Store to third-party payment options instead of forcing users to use Apple’s own payment system. doing. Google is asked to offer people using smartphones running the company’s Android operating system an alternative to the search engine, the Google Maps app, or the Chrome browser. Apple will also be forced to loosen its grip on the iPhone, allowing users to uninstall the Safari web browser and other company-imposed apps that can’t be removed today.
“The EU wants to give users more choice in how they send messages. New regulations require technology to enable messaging services to interoperate with smaller competitors. The proposed law is draconian and imposes considerable regulations on dominant players to curb cheating and monopoly situations,” Dhanrajani said.
The EC’s Digital Markets Act (DMA) is controversial not only for its ability to regulate anti-competitive behavior by the internet giants, but also for its general legislative place. ReelStar Co-Founder Navdeep Sharma“The metaverse is global and transcends jurisdictional boundaries. Therefore, to be effective, regulation must be global in nature. , will likely minimize the impact on the global-led development of the Metaverse and, despite its intentions, further disadvantage those within the EU,” he added.
Sharma points out that there is a huge gap between the breakneck pace of technological advancement and the inability of countries to keep up.
Globally, Sharma adds, there is a huge gap between the speed at which laws are affected and the pace at which the digital revolution is underway. According to him, the Metaverse is just one aspect of his digital revolution that has exponential growth rates, but the legal framework struggles to achieve even linear growth. Furthermore, the DMA shows lawmakers’ global propensity for strict regulatory frameworks that are often irrelevant (even before they are applied) due to the dynamic and agile nature of the digital landscape, he said. says.
“The digital revolution is a different type of law that transforms from a rigid prescriptive perspective on regulation to a more flexible and forward-looking approach centered around policies and guidelines, true general principles, active cooperation and direction. Coherence with other laws, as well as changes in social norms and technological capabilities.The current legal framework, not only within the EU but also globally, is adapting to the demands that the digital revolution is creating. The majority of legislators and legal practitioners are completely unfamiliar not only with the technical subject areas associated with the digital revolution, but also with the reasoning and problem-solving skills required in this area. Therefore, effective laws and regulations are further hindered.”
Sharma said the solution for lawmakers is to shift their focus from control to empowerment. “Only by providing an authentic and fertile digital landscape within a jurisdiction will lawmakers be able to effectively answer not only the challenges they face now, but the challenges they will face in the future. “Our priority must be to foster a competitive and innovative environment that encourages technology companies to thrive not only in the Metaverse, but for the foreseeable digital revolution.”
Sumit Ghosh, CEO and co-founder of Chingari, feels that existing antitrust laws and regulations may not be sufficient to deal with big tech companies such as Google, Meta, and their potential domination of the Metaverse. But he said the EU’s Digital Markets Act is a positive step in the direction of regulating big tech companies, from ensuring everyone has a fair chance to grow in the digital economy. I feel that I can see
“However, the Metaverse needs a clear set of rules and regulations that can guarantee strict data privacy and security provisions for users, censorship rights for users, and rules that allow them to take ownership of what they create in the Metaverse. , given that cryptocurrencies and digital assets such as GARI tokens and GARI badges could become an important part of the Metaverse economy, it is likely that certain frameworks will be put in place to regulate this rule.
He felt it was important to note that the Metaverse is still evolving and is being accepted at varying paces in countries around the world, and policy makers around the world are working together to It is imperative to create a universal set of regulations while highlighting On developments to keep regulatory abreast of changing conditions.
Currently, notes Kaavya Prasad, Founder of Lumos Labsexisting laws do not fully enforce fair competition to promote balanced growth between large and small businesses. We feel a great need to adapt to realize innovation opportunities in the Metaverse ecosystem.
Prasad believes that digital market law has the potential to address more challenges in the Metaverse ecosystem. Especially when you consider the convergence impact of various other technologies. However, she adds that specific laws and regulations may be required for data privacy, intellectual property rights, content moderation, and virtual assets and currencies.
“In essence, digital market law and all other regulations must balance innovation and competition with user rights and interests. You can see an ecosystem that promotes sexuality,” she opines.
Light of hope
Aahan Dogra, Founder, NoCap Meta, is of the view that digital market law stands as a beacon of hope for regulating the behavior of the internet giants. increase. “But can Big Tech alone prevent the dominance of the metaverse? As we venture into uncharted waters, it is imperative that we have a strong legal framework in place. The Digital Markets Act lays the groundwork. While building, we need to consider specific legislation tailored to the unique challenges of the Metaverse: “We are creating a rulebook for the digital economy,” said Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice President for Digital at the European Commission. ”(Vestager, 2021). After all, she said, “When you’re in the Metaverse, do what the Metaverse do!”
As the metaverse continues to grow, it is becoming increasingly apparent that laws and regulations need to be tailored to the unique challenges and opportunities of the metaverse. Samir Asher, Founder and COO of Tonic WorldwideHe adds that it is important for companies operating in the metaverse, for example, to maintain high standards of openness and interoperability so that everyone has a positive experience. Additionally, with so much personal information being shared on the Metaverse, it is important to enact laws to protect user privacy and data rights. Ensuring the Metaverse is a safe, open, and innovative space will make exploring this new virtual frontier fun for everyone, he points out.
Given the rapid development of innovative technologies, it says regulators need to quickly and efficiently establish frameworks to protect consumer interests. Anantha Krishnan, MOI Founder“The administration is fairly aware of Big Tech and its dominance in certain sectors, and is moving towards limiting their power by promoting compliance, transparency and fairness to enable free markets and data privacy. , but the scope of these regulations is still limited in certain respects: existing legislation puts some conglomerates under government oversight and is sufficient to initiate regulatory action. But these companies have huge financial and legal resources, so they may not have the desired universal outcome as predicted,” he points out.
But Anantha Krishnan points out that these regulations are necessary to begin the journey of comprehensive competition, accessibility and user protection. It adds that a much-needed industry conversation has started to recognize the dominance of tech and take proactive steps to give a level playing field to start-ups and innovations in the space.
“Existing regulations such as the Digital Markets Act (DMA) introduced by the EU and the Competition Act 2022 introduced in India are becoming more technology-specific, business-specific, consumer-centric or national. We are creating a specialized legal ecosystem, which we can expect in the near future,” he says.
(Tomorrow Part 3: Heading for an oligopoly where Meta, Microsoft, and other tech giants are joining forces for Metaverse technology?)