Unravelling the Digital Markets Act ia.net


The prevalent critique of the DMA often rests on vague condemnations, perpetuating the belief that the EU creates impractical laws. Our analysis showed quite the opposite.

Drafted by experts in law and technology, the DMA tackles numerous industry issues, benefiting consumers and smaller companies trying to compete with tech giants. It regulates market dominance, dark patterns, and unfair practices, aiming to prevent a few corporations from monopolizing choices.


I view this as a cornerstone of civil rights and customer rights in the same vein as the GDPR. The EU does not get everything right and are not the foremost authority on how this all should work. But they are in the same place as the United States Government was before passing the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act. When the corporations involved have decided that they don’t feel like doing anything, what else is left to do?

I appreciated iA’s careful exploration of the Digital Markets Act. I hope that analysis is more accurate than the alarmist takes I have seen from this side of the Atlantic, as I am more optimistic than many about seeing what happens when platform owners are forced to compete.

There remain lingering concerns, like the requirement for interoperability among messaging platforms, which may impact privacy protections. Many E.U. member states have expressed interest in weakening end-to-end encryption. That is not part of this Act but is, I think, contextually relevant.

I am also worried that the tech companies affected by this Act will treat it with contempt and make users’ experiences worse instead of adapting in a favourable way. After GDPR was passed, owners of web properties did their best to avoid compliance. They could choose to collect less information and avoid nagging visitors with repeated confirmation of privacy violations. Instead, cookie consent sheets are simply added to the long list of things users need to deal with — alongside classics like subscribe to our newsletter!, Enable notifications!, Share your location!, and It looks like you are shopping from Canada! — any time they visit most popular websites. It is hard to blame them, though, given how the online ad market works, and overhauling that seems like too great a burden to place on a single piece of privacy legislation.