PARIS—France plans to redouble its push to tighten regulation of big U.S. tech companies at the national and European level, part of Europe’s backlash against the growing influence—and profit—of a handful of large Internet firms.
The French government will begin public consultations on a new « digital » law for France, and start working on a common strategy with Germany to develop new digital regulations in Europe for firms like Google Inc. and Facebook Inc.,said Axelle Lemaire, France’s junior minister for digital affairs on Friday.
« The risk is that the Internet of tomorrow will be paralyzed by monopolies, » Ms. Lemaire said. « They have the power of life or death over a large number of players in the digital ecosystem. »
Spokesmen for Google and Facebook didn’t immediately have any comment.
France has been pushing for the better part of a year for more regulation of Internet companies, ordering up a report last summer, and calling for the issue to be included in a digital summit in Brussels last fall.
Now the country hopes to build on broader pressure facing American Web firms in Europe. A coalition of French and German politicians and companies have been pressuring the EU to scrap its tentative antitrust agreement with Google to settle concerns that it abuses its dominant Internet-search engine.
At the same time, European officials are digging into tax structures that companies—often tech firms—use to reduce the amount of tax they pay on revenue generated in Europe. A European court last month also decided that search engines such as Google must implement a right to be forgotten for individuals in some cases.
In France, the push for new regulation comes with the backing of a government advisory panel, the Conseil National du Numerique, which issued a 122-page report Friday with 14 recommendations aimed at ensuring what it calls the « neutrality of platforms. »
One recommendation, endorsed Friday by ….
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