Britain has some good ideas for dealing with tech giants

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ON MARCH 11th the World Health Organisation declared covid-19 a pandemic, the Bank of England cut interest rates to 0.25% and Rishi Sunak, the chancellor, announced what then seemed like a fiscal bonanza. Another episode that day got less attention. The government accepted the recommendations of the Digital Competition Expert Panel, chief among which was to set up a “digital markets unit” (DMU), a regulator to oversee big tech companies and encourage competition online.Then, on July 1st, the Competition and Markets Authority, a powerful regulator, released its study of the digital advertising market. It identified problems “so wide ranging and self-reinforcing that our existing powers are not sufficient to address them”. It set up a taskforce to figure out what a new regulatory framework might look like.One purported advantage of Britain leaving the EU is that it can regulate business better. In the case of technology, this might be true. Margrethe Vestager, Europe’s competition tsar, is said to be looking at Britain as inspiration for changes to the EU’s antitrust regime. Cristina Caffarra, an expert on European competition at Charles River Associates, an economics consultancy, has argued that the country “is first in Europe to set off …

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