October 27, 2020

Big tech needs bigger regulation, France’s Cedric O says

Big tech companies need to be more heavily regulated, but Europe will make its own decisions, including on TikTok, France’s secretary of state tells Sifted.

Big technology companies should be regulated more heavily as their footprints grow, France’s junior minister for digital affairs, Cedric O, tells Sifted in an exclusive interview.

But Europe is going its own way on decisions, including whether or not to ban TikTok, says O.

Technology giants from Silicon Valley to China have come under increasing regulatory fire in recent years, culminating in recent moves by Donald Trump’s administration in the US to ban China-owned short video platform TikTok.

European governments, and the European Commission, are paying close attention to these international tussles, and have imposed their own set of restrictions for some technology, including 5G telecoms equipment.


“The US are making their decisions, and we’re making ours,” says O.

“To be straightforward, there are areas such as 5G, in which there are strategic and sovereign issues,” says O. “I’m not completely sure that there’s a sovereign issue regarding TikTok, at least not so far.”

That doesn't mean Europe isn't standing ready to defend its interests on a variety of topics, including how data from European users is collected and what's done with it. The adoption of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which came into force in May 2018 after years of negotiation between member states, is one example.

“Europe, and France especially, has to defend its sovereignty, but there should be a rational estimation of sovereignty risks,” says O. “As long as international investors respect regulatory frameworks and French law, they’re welcome in France.”

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