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Japan sets sights on more stringent anti-trust regulations for Big Tech

TOKYO (Reuters) – the japanese government is planning to set up a new watchdog to take a look at the major tech companies like Facebook and Google, amid growing concerns about monopoly practices and the processing of the personal data.

FILE PHOTO: Silhouettes of the mobile users are displayed next to a screen projection of Facebook logo in this photo illustration March 28, 2018. REUTERS/dado Ruvic/Image/File Photo

The new regulator will investigate competitive practices, the protection of personal data and the creation of anti-trust recommendations, according to a presentation made to a government advisory panel on Wednesday.

The new body will also drafting new guidelines to assess whether mergers and acquisitions lead to a monopoly on messages or personal data.

The government hopes to finalise the plans for the new regulator by the summer, but it is still uncertain when it will be fully operational.

Japan relocation is part of a worldwide trend towards stricter anti-trust regulations for the large technological companies, which critics say have been able to dominate search, social media and e-commerce with little supervision.

At the meeting on Wednesday, bureaucrats gave a presentation to the ministers to show how Facebook, Google, Amazon.com China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holdings Ltd and China’s top search engine Baidu Inc has increased the influence of the expansion of payment systems, shops, self-driving cars, drones, and interconnected devices.

The growth of the digital economy has a number of advantages, such as making it easier to reach new customers and generate profits at lower costs, according to the presentation.

But, said that some of the large technology companies can exploit their influence with any search results, the high costs, the sudden changes in the terms and conditions of use, and unfair contracts with suppliers.

Japanese officials also discussed two specific cases in the past few years, when the European Union a fine of Facebook and Google for practice supervisors ruled to be in violation of anti-trust rules.

India’s antitrust commission is looking into allegations that Alphabet Inc unit Google is abusing its popular Android mobile operating system to block the competition, four sources with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters on Tuesday.

Last week, Germany’s anti-trust watchdog ordered Facebook to curb the collection of data in a landmark ruling. Facebook has said that it will appeal the decision.

The public’s trust in major technology companies has declined, fueled by last year’s Cambridge Analytica scandal in which tens of millions of Facebook profiles were harvested without their users permission.

Reporting by Stanley White; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore

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