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This week has seen a flurry of activity in respect of regulation in the tech industry:
As a consequence six data protection bodies including France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, and the UK are said to be opening new investigations into Google and its privacy policies.
FCA to investigate RBS IT meltdown
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), which took over regulation of financial services companies at the start of April is to investigate the IT glitch which locked many RBS, NatWest and Ulster Bank customers out of their accounts last summer.
Some £175m has been said to be set aside by the bank for compensation payments. The investigation could lead to an unlimited fine if the regulator finds evidence of wrongdoing.
The regulator does not usually announce enforcement investigations until they are finished, however it is allowed to make such announcements where there are exceptional circumstances. The FCA’s predecessor, the Financial Services Authority has fined companies for IT failures in the past where it found that rules had been broken.
Concern over Game “extras”
The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has launched an investigation into whether free games are putting undue pressure on children to pay for additional content. It has been reported that eight out of ten of the most popular games are free to install but have paid-for extras. The concern is that children are particularly vulnerable to this trend.
Makers of games that strongly encourage children to buy or pressure them to ask parents to buy on their behalf could be breaking laws on fair trading, said the OFT.
According to reports, the OFT will investigate how companies providing free web or app-based games are marketing their products to children.
Parents and consumer groups will be asked to contact the watchdog with information about “potentially misleading or commercially aggressive practices” in relation to these games.