UK Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill: research briefing and call for evidence

The House of Commons Library has published a research briefing considering consumer provisions of the UK Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill which was introduced to Parliament on 25 April 2023 (see our Insight).

The second reading of the bill in the House of Commons took place on 17 May 2023. The House of Commons Public Bill Committee has also announced a call for written evidence on it. It advises that the sooner submissions are sent in, the more time it will have to consider them. The Public Bill Committee is scheduled to have its first sitting on 13 June and to report on the bill by 18 July.

UK CMA's review into AI models: consumer law aspects

The UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has launched a review into the market for artificial intelligence (AI) foundation models. This follows the publication of the UK AI white paper in March 2023, where the government identified certain UK regulators, including the CMA, as leading bodies for implementation of the framework proposed in the white paper. The initial review looks into the competition and consumer law issues.

The CMA is interested in gathering information on potential risks to consumers from the use of foundation models in products and services. The focus appears to be on the potential for foundation models to provide consumers with false and/or misleading information. The authority will also look into whether the present market practices lead to accurate and safe foundation models. The CMA has also indicated that it would like to hear about whether businesses comply with their consumer protection law obligations in relation to AI, which could lead to guidance on how to do this or enforcement if particular issues are identified.

The CMA has asked for feedback and views which could be provided by 2 June 2023.

For the competition law aspects please see the Competition section of our Regulatory outlook.

EU Commission designates first VLOPs and VLOSEs under the DSA

The European Commission has recently designated the first very large online platforms (VLOPs) and very large online search engines (VLOSEs) under the EU Digital Services Act (DSA). These are online platforms and engines that reach at least 45 million monthly active users.

The designated VLOPs and VLOSEs will now have to comply with the DSA within four months following the date of their designation.

Consultation on conducting independent audits under the DSA

The European Commission has launched a consultation on draft delegated regulation which covers conducting independent audits under the DSA. Article 37 of the DSA states that VLOPs and VLOSEs should be regularly subject to independent audits to assess their compliance. This consultation seeks views on draft regulations which proposes the main rules and methodologies to apply during the audit procedure as well as templates for the audit report and the audit implementation report.

The feedback period closes on 2 June 2023.