EU adopts new regulations for voice AI and digital technology

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The European Union on Tuesday approved new rules to codify open markets and consumer rights in digital technology, including voice assistants and smart homes. The Digital Services Package (DSP) was passed two years after regulators began looking at how best to apply the rules to “gatekeeper” tech giants. such as Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google and their respective parent companies.

Access control rules

The DSP combines the Digital Markets Act (DMA) and the Digital Services Act (DSA) based on initial reports of fair competition concerns in technology released last year. The DSP lays out rules for gatekeeper companies, meaning those with a certain level of revenue, a platform user base and what the EU calls an “entrenched and enduring position”. . The DMA says the biggest names in tech will have to offer a third-party option for voice assistants on their devices, potentially an issue for the respective smart speakers built by Amazon, Google and Apple. They will also need to allow third-party payment systems, direct integration for third-party services, and allow developers access to hardware features that might be unique to in-house devices, like Apple’s Near Field Communication technology and associated technologies. services. The DMA also prohibits pre-installed software by default or giving their own products preferential treatment. Meanwhile, the DSA is demanding stricter regulation by illegal content platforms. That could mean Amazon’s more cautious and slower approval of new Alexa skills. Companies that break the rules could end up with hefty fines; up to 6% of annual worldwide revenue for DSA violations, and up to 10% for violations of DMA rules.

“The European Parliament has adopted a world first: strong and ambitious regulation of online platforms. The Digital Services Act enables the protection of online user rights. The Digital Markets Act creates fair and open online markets,” said EU Antitrust and Digital Regulatory Officer Margrethe Vestager. “Big platforms will have to refrain from promoting their own interests, sharing their data with other companies, enabling more app stores. Because with size comes responsibility – as a big platform, there there are things you must do and things you cannot do.

Although voice AI is only part of the regulatory framework, it is an important part of the EU technology ecosystem. According to the Commission’s report, there were approximately 4.2 billion voice AIs worldwide in 2020 and that number is expected to double to 8.4 billion by 2024. Respondents highlighted barriers to competition in the form of tech giants. Their dominant presence and the exclusivity of their respective devices and voice assistants shut out rivals before they had a chance, some of the companies said. Additionally, there are no official standards for the technology, making larger companies the owners of the default standards that smaller companies may feel compelled to work with, even if they have to create multiple standards when the need arises. interoperability is limited.

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