The EU wants to force the message giants to let in smaller players

The EU wants to force the message giants to let in smaller players
The EU wants to force the message giants to let in smaller players 1

After a long discussion between the EU Council, Parliament and the Commission, agreements were reached on Thursday on several important parts of the forthcoming law on digital markets, which the EU has been working on for several years, reports Tech Crunch.

The three legislative bodies agreed that companies should be covered by the law if they have a market value of more than EUR 75 billion or a turnover of EUR 7.5 billion. Companies with over 45 million users in the EU every month and over 10,000 business users a year are classified as “gatekeepers” with additional rules and requirements.

One of the new rules that has been added to the bill after the recent discussions concerns messaging services. In the future, these will have to open up for cross-communication with smaller players.

The idea is that innovative messaging services will have a chance to grow by enabling users to communicate via text, audio, video and file transfers with users of the major services such as Whatsapp, Imessage and Facebook Messenger.

A jumble of minutes

How it should go in practice with different message protocols, infrastructure and so on will be a later question. Andreas Schwab, the European Parliament’s so-called rapporteur on the law, tells Tech Crunch that interoperability of messaging services has always been the goal of Parliament.

– It will come, but at the same time it must be safe. If the telecommunications authorities say that it is not possible to deliver total-encrypted group chats within nine months, it may come as soon as possible.

The rules on interoperability only apply in one direction, ie small apps should have access to the giants’ api so that their users can send messages to users on the large services but do not have to open their own api.

First, the rules should include messaging, voice and video chat, and simple file transfers between two users. Group chats and other features will be added later. All communication between different services must be fully encrypted.

Even if EU legislators themselves do not want to go into technical details, discussions will quickly start on how this can be done. One possibility we can see is that the services start using two different messaging protocols at the same time: one open with interoperability and one internally used between own users. There are already several open technologies that could be adopted, for example Matrix.

The EU wants to force the message giants to let in smaller players 1

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