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Internet can't be Wild West, EU's Breton tells Google CEO Pichai

BRUSSELS, Nov 13 (Reuters) - Europe’s industry chief Thierry Breton has warned Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai that he plans to rein in U.S. tech giants via a raft of new rules to curb the excesses of a “Wild West” internet.

Breton issued the warning in a video-conference call with Pichai late on Thursday, according to a statement from the European Commision.

The comments came after a Google internal document outlined a 60-day strategy to counter the European Union’s push for tough new tech rules by getting U.S. allies to push back against Breton.

The call was initiated by Google before the document was leaked.

Breton will announce new draft rules known as the Digital Services Act and the Digital Markets Act together with European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager on Dec. 2.

The rules will set out a list of do’s and don’ts for gatekeepers - online companies with market power - forcing them to share data with rivals and regulators and not to promote their services and products unfairly.

“The Internet cannot remain a ‘Wild West’: we need clear and transparent rules, a predictable environment and balanced rights and obligations,” Breton told Pichai.

“Everything that is allowed offline should be authorised online; and everything that is forbidden offline should be banned online,” he said.

Breton told Pichai that he would increase the EU’s power to curb unfair behaviour by gatekeeping platforms, so that the Internet does’t just benefit a handful of companies but also Europe’s small- and medium-sized enterprises and entrepreneurs.

“Europe’s position is clear: everyone is welcome on our continent – as long as they respect our rules,” he told Pichai. (Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by Kim Coghill)

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