UK To Launch Big Tech Regulator Post-Brexit

UK Regulation

The United Kingdom will create a technology regulator next year after Brexit is completed, according to a report by the Financial Times.

The regulator will police companies like Facebook and Google, and will have the authority to enforce new rules meant to curb anti-competition issues and to protect consumer data from being used and sold without permission.

Many in the country have been calling for an organization to stymie the power of Big Tech companies, including the U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), which published a report on Wednesday (Dec. 18) outlining new regulatory oversights for the tech sector.

“It’s quite rare that one makes a set of quite radical policy proposals and within 12 months the government is actually implementing them,” said Diane Coyle, an economist. “There is an emerging international consensus around the scope of new regulation. A reckoning is coming for the biggest digital platforms.”

Many countries around the globe have made similar moves, including Japan and Germany. Jason Furman, the former chief economic advisor to President Barack Obama, made similar recommendations in March, and said that the U.K. government was looking into the “emergence of powerful new companies” in the tech ecosphere.

Furman’s organization wrote a report on the issue. “We are concerned that [Google and Facebook] are both now so large and have such extensive access to data that potential rivals can no longer compete on equal terms,” the report said.

Andrea Leadsom, secretary of state for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), said the organization was going to release a new white paper in Q1 of next year that would suggest new rules to reform competition issues. Members of BEIS have been meeting with lawyers and different academics to determine how the regulator will operate.

“The European Commission has been handling all the big antitrust cases, and now we have to scale up our national capacity for doing that [in light of an impending Brexit],” said Greg Taylor, a professor at the Oxford Internet Institute. “So it makes sense for bold action at the earliest opportunity.”