Whilst political uncertainty may have businesses’ attention fixed, the Hogan Lovells Global Survey on Digital Regulation: ‘A Turning Point for Tech’ suggests that tech companies should be looking elsewhere. During yesterday’s launch at Hogan Lovells’ London Office, editor of the survey, Falk Schoening uncovered the 452 digital regulations that had been proposed across 16 jurisdictions in just six months of monitoring. The report aims to provide insight for what is on the horizon for tech companies, giving them a ‘heads up’ on how they should look at their business models in preparation for potential incoming regulation.
One of the strongest themes of the report was the shift in sentiment to give greater power to competition authorities with 26% of the proposals based around these issues. A panel discussion, chaired by Peter Watts, debated the key findings of the report. Charles Brasted highlighted that societal impact of the tech companies played a big part in driving some of these proposals. He explained that there are growing concerns over what value is given to citizens by these companies, resulting in distrust and calls for regulatory pressure. Louise Crawford noted that this was coupled with increased awareness and sensitivity around the use of data, largely encouraged by the GDPR. John Salmon and Ruth Milligan both noted that consumers needed a sense of control over their data and to realise the benefit of its use before they could trust the providers, referencing progress made under PSD2 and the UK Open Banking initiative.
The discussion concluded by looking at some of the more deep seated issues of economic nationalism. A theme that the Hogan Lovells team has followed for some time, the survey interestingly identified the large number of national proposals made in this area by EU member states, despite the EU making proposals of their own. Rupert Shiers explained that this was something that was also apparent in the protectionist policies being implemented around taxation with regulators seemingly wanting to compete with each other. Whilst a global approach would seem to be the optimal approach, John Salmon explained that cultural norms and differing approaches and mentality of jurisdictions leave this an unrealistic feat.