back to article Europe doesn't just pass laws on Big Tech algorithms, it sets up cop shops to police them

Euro leaders officially opened the European Centre for Algorithmic Transparency (ECAT) on Tuesday, an institution that will support the regulation of social media and search algorithms.  Under the EU's Digital Services Act (DSA), which came into effect on November 16, platforms with more than 45 million users, dubbed "Very …

  1. Tubz Silver badge

    Good luck getting Microsoft/Google/Meta etc to share their algorithms, as these will be trade secrets and when ECAT come to enforce requirements. court cases will be years in the making, that the algorithms request will be out of date, that they will probably then hand them over, close the court case and open a new one for the current algorithm. Rinse and repeat, legal costs tiny compared to value of the algorithms.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I don't think that's how things work in the EU with regard to trade secrets, I'm sure there will be appeals but once they're exhausted I don't think they can just start again with a slightly different algorithm.

      In the meantime, will you get the popcorn?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      As an counter example European medicines regulators handle trade secrets and commercial information all the time. And the pharma companies are OK with that.

      1. navarac Bronze badge

        .... and delayed substantially, the introduction of Covid vaccines to the detriment of the population.

    3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      If it's a condition of doing business in the EU then they have a simple choice. Comply or don't do business in the EU.

      1. Claptrap314 Silver badge

        You summer's child.

        Here are some additional options:

        1) the option mentioned (pay $10m/year in lawyer's fee as a cost of doing business). Even if it "only" drags things out for 3-5 years, that is a huge win.

        2) bribe lobby politicians to modify the act sufficiently to restart or throw out the case.

        3) conduct public influence campaigns to convince Europeans that these prosecutions are a waste.

        I'm sure that the real sharps know others.

    4. Avatar of They

      to be fair

      Microsoft already has a separate copy of windows 10 for Germany because of GDPR, and had one of windows 7 for the EU. (Version N?)

      EU already showed the US with privacy shield and safe harbour arguments that it will stick to its guns.

      There will be crying and lots of lawyers but if big tech wants access to the big trading bloc then things will need to be shared.

      1. OhForF' Silver badge

        Re: to be fair

        EU already showed the US with privacy shield and safe harbour arguments that it will stick to its guns.

        Both privacy shield and the safe harbour agreement are gone and can't be used as a legal basis to give data to an american company.

        As a lot of european companies still use US cloud services all the EU showed the US is that it will continue to do business and ignore EU laws like GDPR (*) if they adversely affect business.

        (*) Even if there is a contract that stipulates the US company guarantees an adequate level of data protection that won't work as there is no way for an US company to get rid of its obligations to the US laws like e.g. the CLOUD act.

  2. Al fazed

    As usual

    It all depends upon who you are and what you are peddling.

    Of course "Anti vax" stuff will be filtered out. Even if it's relevent ?

    What else will be filtered out to suit the status quo in acceptable output ?

    How do you know that the unacceptable bit isn't the truth ?

    How do we know the "actual truth" isn't being twisted to fit the output requirements of the system ?

    Who says what is acceptable and what isn't ?

    At the end of the day, I suspect that we are just building bigger and more powerfully biggotted AI designed to suit the requirements of someone in power, as opposed to real people without power.

    Oh, similar to what we have today ? Yes, built on the same guiding principles................some of you are just not worthy.............simple


    1. heyrick Silver badge

      Re: As usual

      "Who says what is acceptable and what isn't ?"

      I expect this new outfit to be as open and transparent as they want the search engines (etc) to be. Let's see how this plays out.

    2. LionelB Silver badge

      Re: As usual

      My understanding is that the EU is not demanding "truth" or attempting to foist some sinister agenda on anyone here, so much as demanding transparency - so we get to see other peoples agendas, what their "truths" are, how they filter content, use our data, target ads, source training data for AIs, etc. That sounds like a good thing to me.

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