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Google urges EU to be flexible in setting digital rule book

FILE PHOTO: A Google logo is shown at one of the company's office complexes in Irvine, California, United States, July 27, 2020. REUTERS/Mike Blake

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Google urged the European Commission on Thursday to avoid a one-size-fits-all approach to the tech industry in its forthcoming Digital Services Act.

The EU executive is drawing up new rules for data-sharing and the digital marketplace as well as boosting competition after concluding that multiple antitrust actions against Google have been ineffectual.

The Commission’s public consultation period ends on Sept. 8.

In a blog post and 135-page submission, Google encouraged European legislators to provide greater clarity on rules and responsibilities of online platforms.

It said while it was important to identify illegal content, mandating use of technology to do that could ‘overblock’ Europeans’ speech and access to information.

The Commission should update its rules with a graduated scheme of exemptions from liability, including for search engines or cloud services, Google said.

Hosting services such as Google’s YouTube video channel should have to act expeditiously to remove or disable access to illegal content, Google said, but expressed concern that companies may be forced to prioritise speed over careful decision-making.

New rules should also encourage new and improved features and products and help European consumers get things done quickly. The rules, Google said, should not create undue costs and burdens for European businesses seeking to recover from a global pandemic.

Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall

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