Europe’s Anti-Cybersecurity Blunder
The European Union’s (E.U.) Digital Markets Act (DMA) creates precisely the type of cybersecurity crisis the App Security Project has long warned against. Proposals such as sideloading mandates are justified as economically pro-competitive – spoiler: they are no such thing. Instead, they hurt users and could expose them to more cyberattacks. They do, however, advantage Europe’s puny tech sector, which has decisively failed to compete with American firms.
As the DMA’s compliance date (March 3) looms, Apple has announced that it will allow European users to download apps outside of its proprietary App Store. All experience has shown that devices that allow sideloading contract viruses at a higher rate than those that do not. European users will likely become the next pool of test subjects that demonstrate these risks. And the harms to consumers may be too late to reverse.
The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reports that “Apple’s approach to the EU law will help ensure the company maintains close oversight of apps downloaded outside the App Store.” Besides charging fees to developers that allow sideloading, “The company will give itself the ability to review each app downloaded outside of its App Store.”
Whether the E.U.’s famously trigger-happy regulators will accept such restrictions remains unknown. Even Apple’s modest attempts to steward its users’ cybersecurity interests could dissatisfy those whose regulate as if all successful American tech companies earned their market shares through thievery.
Europe’s heavy-handed regulation has quashed innovation, producing a small and uncompetitive tech sector. By contrast, the U.S. free-market approached has spurred innovation, and U.S. companies lead the world. American lawmakers should not import the E.U.’s failures. The DMA should act as a warning to the United States as to what not to do.
Published on January 25, 2024