Preamble 41 to 50
(41) The ability of end users to acquire content, subscriptions, features or other items outside the core platform services of the gatekeeper should not be undermined or restricted. In particular, a situation should be avoided whereby gatekeepers restrict end users from access to, and use of, such services via a software application running on their core platform service.
For example, subscribers to online content purchased outside a software application, software application store or virtual assistant should not be prevented from accessing such online content on a software application on the core platform service of the gatekeeper simply because it was purchased outside such software application, software application store or virtual assistant.
(42) To safeguard a fair commercial environment and protect the contestability of the digital sector it is important to safeguard the right of business users and end users, including whistleblowers, to raise concerns about unfair practices by gatekeepers raising any issue of non-compliance with the relevant Union or national law with any relevant administrative or other public authorities, including national courts.
For example, it is possible that business users or end users will want to complain about different types of unfair practices, such as discriminatory access conditions, unjustified closing of business user accounts or unclear grounds for product de-listings. Any practice that would in any way inhibit or hinder those users in raising their concerns or in seeking available redress, for instance by means of confidentiality clauses in agreements or other written terms, should therefore be prohibited.
(43) Certain services provided together with, or in support of, relevant core platform services of the gatekeeper, such as identification services, web browser engines, payment services or technical services that support the provision of payment services, such as payment systems for in-app purchases, are crucial for business users to conduct their business and allow them to optimise services.
In particular, each browser is built on a web browser engine, which is responsible for key browser functionality such as speed, reliability and web compatibility. When gatekeepers operate and impose web browser engines, they are in a position to determine the functionality and standards that will apply not only to their own web browsers, but also to competing web browsers and, in turn, to web software applications.
Gatekeepers should therefore not use their position to require their dependent business users to use any of the services provided together with, or in support of, core platform services by the gatekeeper itself as part of the provision of services or products by those business users.
In order to avoid a situation in which gatekeepers indirectly impose on business users their own services provided together with, or in support of, core platform services, gatekeepers should also be prohibited from requiring end users to use such services, when that requirement would be imposed in the context of the service provided to end users by the business user using the core platform service of the gatekeeper. That prohibition aims to protect the freedom of the business user to choose alternative services to the ones of the gatekeeper, but should not be construed as obliging the business user to offer such alternatives to its end users.
(44) The conduct of requiring business users or end users to subscribe to, or register with, any other core platform services of gatekeepers listed in the designation decision or which meet the thresholds of active end users and business users set out in this Regulation, as a condition for using, accessing, signing up for or registering with a core platform service gives the gatekeepers a means of capturing and locking-in new business users and end users for their core platform services by ensuring that business users cannot access one core platform service without also at least registering or creating an account for the purposes of receiving a second core platform service. That conduct also gives gatekeepers a potential advantage in terms of accumulation of data. As such, this conduct is liable to raise barriers to entry and should be prohibited.
(45) The conditions under which gatekeepers provide online advertising services to business users, including both advertisers and publishers, are often non-transparent and opaque. This opacity is partly linked to the practices of a few platforms, but is also due to the sheer complexity of modern day programmatic advertising. That sector is considered to have become less transparent after the introduction of new privacy legislation.
This often leads to a lack of information and knowledge for advertisers and publishers about the conditions of the online advertising services they purchase and undermines their ability to switch between undertakings providing online advertising services. Furthermore, the costs of online advertising services under these conditions are likely to be higher than they would be in a fairer, more transparent and contestable platform environment.
Those higher costs are likely to be reflected in the prices that end users pay for many daily products and services relying on the use of online advertising services. Transparency obligations should therefore require gatekeepers to provide advertisers and publishers to whom they supply online advertising services, when requested, with free of charge information that allows both sides to understand the price paid for each of the different online advertising services provided as part of the relevant advertising value chain.
This information should be provided, upon request, to an advertiser at the level of an individual advertisement in relation to the price and fees charged to that advertiser and, subject to an agreement by the publisher owning the inventory where the advertisement is displayed, the remuneration received by that consenting publisher.
The provision of this information on a daily basis will allow advertisers to receive information that has a sufficient level of granularity necessary to compare the costs of using the online advertising services of gatekeepers with the costs of using online advertising services of alternative undertakings. Where some publishers do not provide their consent to the sharing of the relevant information with the advertiser, the gatekeeper should provide the advertiser with the information about the daily average remuneration received by those publishers for the relevant advertisements.
The same obligation and principles of sharing the relevant information concerning the provision of online advertising services should apply in respect of requests by publishers. Since gatekeepers can use different pricing models for the provision of online advertising services to advertisers and publishers, for instance a price per impression, per view or any other criterion, gatekeepers should also provide the method with which each of the prices and remunerations are calculated.
(46) In certain circumstances, a gatekeeper has a dual role as an undertaking providing core platform services, whereby it provides a core platform service, and possibly other services provided together with, or in support of, that core platform service to its business users, while also competing or intending to compete with those same business users in the provision of the same or similar services or products to the same end users.
In those circumstances, a gatekeeper can take advantage of its dual role to use data, generated or provided by its business users in the context of activities by those business users when using the core platform services or the services provided together with, or in support of, those core platform services, for the purpose of its own services or products.
The data of the business user can also include any data generated by or provided during the activities of its end users. This can be the case, for instance, where a gatekeeper provides an online marketplace or a software application store to business users, and at the same time provides services as an undertaking providing online retail services or software applications.
To prevent gatekeepers from unfairly benefitting from their dual role, it is necessary to ensure that they do not use any aggregated or non-aggregated data, which could include anonymised and personal data that is not publicly available to provide similar services to those of their business users. That obligation should apply to the gatekeeper as a whole, including but not limited to its business unit that competes with the business users of a core platform service.
(47) Business users can also purchase online advertising services from an undertaking providing core platform services for the purpose of providing goods and services to end users. In this case, it can happen that the data are not generated on the core platform service, but are provided to the core platform service by the business user or are generated based on its operations through the core platform service concerned.
In certain instances, that core platform service providing advertising can have a dual role as both an undertaking providing online advertising services and an undertaking providing services competing with business users. Accordingly, the obligation prohibiting a dual role gatekeeper from using data of business users should apply also with respect to the data that a core platform service has received from businesses for the purpose of providing online advertising services related to that core platform service.
(48) In relation to cloud computing services, the obligation not to use the data of business users should extend to data provided or generated by business users of the gatekeeper in the context of their use of the cloud computing service of the gatekeeper, or through its software application store that allows end users of cloud computing services access to software applications.
That obligation should not affect the right of the gatekeeper to use aggregated data for providing other services provided together with, or in support of, its core platform service, such as data analytics services, subject to compliance with Regulation (EU) 2016/679 and Directive 2002/58/EC, as well as with the relevant obligations in this Regulation concerning such services.
(49) A gatekeeper can use different means to favour its own or third-party services or products on its operating system, virtual assistant or web browser, to the detriment of the same or similar services that end users could obtain through other third parties. This can for instance happen where certain software applications or services are pre-installed by a gatekeeper. To enable end user choice, gatekeepers should not prevent end users from un-installing any software applications on their operating system.
It should be possible for the gatekeeper to restrict such un-installation only when such software applications are essential to the functioning of the operating system or the device. Gatekeepers should also allow end users to easily change the default settings on the operating system, virtual assistant and web browser when those default settings favour their own software applications and services.
This includes prompting a choice screen, at the moment of the users’ first use of an online search engine, virtual assistant or web browser of the gatekeeper listed in the designation decision, allowing end users to select an alternative default service when the operating system of the gatekeeper directs end users to those online search engine, virtual assistant or web browser and when the virtual assistant or the web browser of the gatekeeper direct the user to the online search engine listed in the designation decision.
(50) The rules that a gatekeeper sets for the distribution of software applications can, in certain circumstances, restrict the ability of end users to install and effectively use third-party software applications or software application stores on hardware or operating systems of that gatekeeper and restrict the ability of end users to access such software applications or software application stores outside the core platform services of that gatekeeper.
Such restrictions can limit the ability of developers of software applications to use alternative distribution channels and the ability of end users to choose between different software applications from different distribution channels and should be prohibited as unfair and liable to weaken the contestability of core platform services. To ensure contestability, the gatekeeper should furthermore allow the third-party software applications or software application stores to prompt the end user to decide whether that service should become the default and enable that change to be carried out easily.
In order to ensure that third-party software applications or software application stores do not endanger the integrity of the hardware or operating system provided by the gatekeeper, it should be possible for the gatekeeper concerned to implement proportionate technical or contractual measures to achieve that goal if the gatekeeper demonstrates that such measures are necessary and justified and that there are no less-restrictive means to safeguard the integrity of the hardware or operating system.
The integrity of the hardware or the operating system should include any design options that need to be implemented and maintained in order for the hardware or the operating system to be protected against unauthorised access, by ensuring that security controls specified for the hardware or the operating system concerned cannot be compromised.
Furthermore, in order to ensure that third-party software applications or software application stores do not undermine end users’ security, it should be possible for the gatekeeper to implement strictly necessary and proportionate measures and settings, other than default settings, enabling end users to effectively protect security in relation to third-party software applications or software application stores if the gatekeeper demonstrates that such measures and settings are strictly necessary and justified and that there are no less-restrictive means to achieve that goal. The gatekeeper should be prevented from implementing such measures as a default setting or as pre-installation.
Cyber Risk GmbH
Tel: +41 79 505 89 60
We process and store data in compliance with both, the Swiss Federal Act on Data Protection (FADP) and the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The service provider is Hostpoint. The servers are located in the Interxion data center in Zürich, the data is saved exclusively in Switzerland, and the support, development and administration activities are also based entirely in Switzerland.
Understanding Cybersecurity in the European Union.