Users should be allowed to sue U.S. tech giants under EU rules, civil groups say

FILE PHOTO: The logos of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google in a combination photo from Reuters files

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Individual users should be allowed to take U.S. tech giants to court for breaching landmark EU rules aimed at curbing their power, Privacy International, pan-European consumer group BEUC and a number of academics said on Tuesday.

The call by the coalition of 31 groups and academics comes as EU lawmakers and EU countries thrashed out the final points of the Digital Markets Act (DMA) proposed by EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager just over a year ago before it can become law.

The draft DMA sets out a list of dos and don'ts for online gatekeepers, in effect targeting Apple, Alphabet unit Google, Facebook parent Meta, Amazon and Microsoft.

It only allows business users to sue violating companies.

"The DMA must enable users, both individually and collectively, to bring enforcement actions for violation of DMA rules before national courts," the group said in an open letter to EU institutions.

While EU lawmakers are open to the idea, EU countries have so far ignored the demand.

The coalition also urged lawmakers and EU countries to let consumer bodies and representatives of civil society take part in processes set out under the draft rules so that their needs would be reflected in the Commission's decisions on the tech giants.

Other signatories of the open letter include U.S.-based Center for Digital Democracy and the Consumer Federation of America, the Civil Liberties Union for Europe, European Digital Rights and academics from the University of Oxford, the Vienna University of Economics and Business and the University of Amsterdam.

(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by Tomasz Janowski)

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