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Digital Disruption Report

Tech Regulation - Thematic Research

A free and open internet has had unintended consequences

The internet was designed to be free, open and innovative. To achieve these objectives – all of which were conducive to spurring economic growth – most laissez faire economies adopted a light regulatory touch for the internet.

Regulatory guidelines such as net neutrality – which have now become legally enforceable in some countries – allowed internet companies to grow without worrying about paying for the true cost of internet bandwidth. Telecom operators had to bear this cost and were not allowed to pass it on to internet companies.

  • What you need to know...
  • Now the tech industry faces a regulatory backlash.
  • Growing public concern over widespread abuse taking place on internet platforms – from revenge porn to fake news, political interference, obstruction of justice and promotion of terrorism – is encouraging politicians and regulators to police the internet better.
  • Across the world many people are now beginning to think of big tech firms as BAADD (big, anti-competitive, addictive and destructive to democracy).

The international legal system, based on separate national sovereignties, is struggling withits task of providing a framework for internet governance, given the cross-border flows of online services. Yet a raft of online abuses culminating with the Facebook / Cambridge Analytica scandal is likely to force authorities to act unilaterally to regulate companies in certain areas.

GlobalData’s Tech Regulation – Thematic Research report explores this further.

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