Preamble 51 to 60
(51) Gatekeepers are often vertically integrated and offer certain products or services to end users through their own core platform services, or through a business user over which they exercise control which frequently leads to conflicts of interest. This can include the situation whereby a gatekeeper provides its own online intermediation services through an online search engine.
When offering those products or services on the core platform service, gatekeepers can reserve a better position, in terms of ranking, and related indexing and crawling, for their own offering than that of the products or services of third parties also operating on that core platform service. This can occur for instance with products or services, including other core platform services, which are ranked in the results communicated by online search engines, or which are partly or entirely embedded in online search engines results, groups of results specialised in a certain topic, displayed along with the results of an online search engine, which are considered or used by certain end users as a service distinct or additional to the online search engine.
Other instances are those of software applications which are distributed through software application stores, or videos distributed through a video-sharing platform, or products or services that are given prominence and display in the newsfeed of an online social networking service, or products or services ranked in search results or displayed on an online marketplace, or products or services offered through a virtual assistant. Such reserving of a better position of gatekeeper’s own offering can take place even before ranking following a query, such as during crawling and indexing.
For example, already during crawling, as a discovery process by which new and updated content is being found, as well as indexing, which entails storing and organising of the content found during the crawling process, the gatekeeper can favour its own content over that of third parties. In those circumstances, the gatekeeper is in a dual-role position as intermediary for third-party undertakings and as undertaking directly providing products or services. Consequently, such gatekeepers have the ability to undermine directly the contestability for those products or services on those core platform services, to the detriment of business users which are not controlled by the gatekeeper.
(52) In such situations, the gatekeeper should not engage in any form of differentiated or preferential treatment in ranking on the core platform service, and related indexing and crawling, whether through legal, commercial or technical means, in favour of products or services it offers itself or through a business user which it controls. To ensure that this obligation is effective, the conditions that apply to such ranking should also be generally fair and transparent.
Ranking should in this context cover all forms of relative prominence, including display, rating, linking or voice results and should also include instances where a core platform service presents or communicates only one result to the end user. To ensure that this obligation is effective and cannot be circumvented, it should also apply to any measure that has an equivalent effect to the differentiated or preferential treatment in ranking. The guidelines adopted pursuant to Article 5 of Regulation (EU) 2019/1150 should also facilitate the implementation and enforcement of this obligation.
(53) Gatekeepers should not restrict or prevent the free choice of end users by technically or otherwise preventing switching between or subscription to different software applications and services. This would allow more undertakings to offer their services, thereby ultimately providing greater choice to the end users.
Gatekeepers should ensure a free choice irrespective of whether they are the manufacturer of any hardware by means of which such software applications or services are accessed and should not raise artificial technical or other barriers so as to make switching impossible or ineffective. The mere offering of a given product or service to consumers, including by means of pre-installation, as well as the improvement of the offering to end users, such as price reductions or increased quality, should not be construed as constituting a prohibited barrier to switching.
(54) Gatekeepers can hamper the ability of end users to access online content and services, including software applications. Therefore, rules should be established to ensure that the rights of end users to access an open internet are not compromised by the conduct of gatekeepers.
Gatekeepers can also technically limit the ability of end users to effectively switch between different undertakings providing internet access service, in particular through their control over hardware or operating systems. This distorts the level playing field for internet access services and ultimately harms end users. It should therefore be ensured that gatekeepers do not unduly restrict end users in choosing the undertaking providing their internet access service.
(55) A gatekeeper can provide services or hardware, such as wearable devices, that access hardware or software features of a device accessed or controlled via an operating system or virtual assistant in order to offer specific functionalities to end users. In that case, competing service or hardware providers, such as providers of wearable devices, require equally effective interoperability with, and access for the purposes of interoperability to, the same hardware or software features to be able to provide a competitive offering to end users.
(56) Gatekeepers can also have a dual role as developers of operating systems and device manufacturers, including any technical functionality that such a device may have. For example, a gatekeeper that is a manufacturer of a device can restrict access to some of the functionalities in that device, such as near-field-communication technology, secure elements and processors, authentication mechanisms and the software used to operate those technologies, which can be required for the effective provision of a service provided together with, or in support of, the core platform service by the gatekeeper as well as by any potential third-party undertaking providing such service.
(57) If dual roles are used in a manner that prevents alternative service and hardware providers from having access under equal conditions to the same operating system, hardware or software features that are available or used by the gatekeeper in the provision of its own complementary or supporting services or hardware, this could significantly undermine innovation by such alternative providers, as well as choice for end users.
The gatekeepers should, therefore, be required to ensure, free of charge, effective interoperability with, and access for the purposes of interoperability to, the same operating system, hardware or software features that are available or used in the provision of its own complementary and supporting services and hardware.
Such access can equally be required by software applications related to the relevant services provided together with, or in support of, the core platform service in order to effectively develop and provide functionalities interoperable with those provided by gatekeepers. The aim of the obligations is to allow competing third parties to interconnect through interfaces or similar solutions to the respective features as effectively as the gatekeeper’s own services or hardware.
(58) The conditions under which gatekeepers provide online advertising services to business users, including both advertisers and publishers, are often non-transparent and opaque. This often leads to a lack of information for advertisers and publishers about the effect of a given advertisement.
To further enhance fairness, transparency and contestability of online advertising services listed in the designation decision, as well as those that are fully integrated with other core platform services of the same undertaking, gatekeepers should provide advertisers and publishers, and third parties authorised by advertisers and publishers, when requested, with free of charge access to the gatekeepers’ performance measuring tools and the data, including aggregated and non-aggregated data, necessary for advertisers, authorised third parties such as advertising agencies acting on behalf of a company placing advertising, as well as for publishers to carry out their own independent verification of the provision of the relevant online advertising services.
(59) Gatekeepers benefit from access to vast amounts of data that they collect while providing the core platform services, as well as other digital services. To ensure that gatekeepers do not undermine the contestability of core platform services, or the innovation potential of the dynamic digital sector, by restricting switching or multi-homing, end users, as well as third parties authorised by an end user, should be granted effective and immediate access to the data they provided or that was generated through their activity on the relevant core platform services of the gatekeeper.
The data should be received in a format that can be immediately and effectively accessed and used by the end user or the relevant third party authorised by the end user to which the data is ported. Gatekeepers should also ensure, by means of appropriate and high quality technical measures, such as application programming interfaces, that end users or third parties authorised by end users can freely port the data continuously and in real time.
This should apply also to any other data at different levels of aggregation necessary to effectively enable such portability. For the avoidance of doubt, the obligation on the gatekeeper to ensure effective portability of data under this Regulation complements the right to data portability under the Regulation (EU) 2016/679. Facilitating switching or multi-homing should lead, in turn, to an increased choice for end users and acts as an incentive for gatekeepers and business users to innovate.
(60) Business users that use core platform services provided by gatekeepers, and end users of such business users provide and generate a vast amount of data. In order to ensure that business users have access to the relevant data thus generated, the gatekeeper should, upon their request, provide effective access, free of charge, to such data. Such access should also be given to third parties contracted by the business user, who are acting as processors of this data for the business user.
The access should include access to data provided or generated by the same business users and the same end users of those business users in the context of other services provided by the same gatekeeper, including services provided together with or in support of core platform services, where this is inextricably linked to the relevant request.
To this end, a gatekeeper should not use any contractual or other restrictions to prevent business users from accessing relevant data and should enable business users to obtain consent of their end users for such data access and retrieval, where such consent is required under Regulation (EU) 2016/679 and Directive 2002/58/EC. Gatekeepers should also ensure the continuous and real time access to such data by means of appropriate technical measures, for example by putting in place high quality application programming interfaces or integrated tools for small volume business users.
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.