UK Government to consult on how tech giants are harming competition in the digital economy

Panel will ask whether data collection is killing startups, and the effect of AI on price collusion

Graphic illustrating a big business holding back a small business

Businesses, experts and the general public are invited to feed into a government-spurred consultation on whether tech giants are stifling competition in the UK digital economy.

Respondents will be asked for the pros and cons of current market setup, whether data aggregation by industry giants is holding back startups, how competition online can be strengthened, and how innovation in digital markets can be enhanced.

Firms from all sectors, and the public, can feed into the call for evidence from now until it closes on 7 December - also answering issues such AI-driven price colluding, and the trade-off between free services and data.

"We will ensure the UK remains at the forefront of the technological revolution as we build an economy fit for the future and equip people with the skills they need to succeed in it," said Chancellor Philip Hammond MP.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below
Advertisement - Article continues below

"But there are concerns that the big players could be accumulating too much power in our new digital world. Therefore we must ensure we have the right regulations so that our digital markets are competitive and consumers are protected."

The consultation, being led by a former advisor to President Obama, Jason Furman, forms part of a review launched earlier this month into competition in the digital economy. It can also be seen in the context of a wider government clampdown on Silicon Valley's influence in the UK.

Ministers from a range of government departments, including the Home Office and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), have already indicated taking a harder-line approach against tech companies.

The likes of home secretary Sajid Javid MP have suggested new laws to clamp down on influential firms if they do not comply with government requests to allow law enforcement access to encrypted communications, for instance.

The government will run its digital economy review in tandem with a review into social media and mental health, while devising a set of as-of-yet vaguely-defined "online harm" laws which may result in the introduction of an industry regulator.

Details around the latter set of laws have been kept hidden thus far, but are expected to be outlined by the end of 2018. Former DCMS secretary Matt Hancock MP first touted a set of tougher regulations after being snubbed by 10 of 14 tech companies invited for discussions on how to best tackle the online content crisis.

Advertisement - Article continues below

"We want to hear from people of all ages, businesses of all sizes, and experts from all fields, to help inform our review so we can ensure all parts of society benefit from the technologies of the future," said Professor Jason Furman, who is chairing the review.

"Digital markets have produced significant consumer benefits and we are focusing on how to ensure that remains the case, while fostering competition and boosting the economy."

Furman will be joined by four fellow professors including public policy professor Diane Coyle CBE and Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) non-executive director Amelia Fletcher OBE.

Digital economy professor Derek McAuley and deputy chair of the Bank of England's enforcement decision-making committee will make up the remainder of the panel.

The panel began its work in September, investigating how the digital industry affects consumers, competition, growth, productivity, wages, and labour markets, and are expected to publish its recommendations in early 2019.

Featured Resources

What you need to know about migrating to SAP S/4HANA

Factors to assess how and when to begin migration

Download now

Your enterprise cloud solutions guide

Infrastructure designed to meet your company's IT needs for next-generation cloud applications

Download now

Testing for compliance just became easier

How you can use technology to ensure compliance in your organisation

Download now

Best practices for implementing security awareness training

How to develop a security awareness programme that will actually change behaviour

Download now
Advertisement

Recommended

Visit/careers/28212/a-guide-to-cyber-security-certification-and-training
Careers & training

A guide to cyber security certification and training

13 Jan 2020
Visit/email-clients/19598/hotmail-outlookcom-upgrades-your-questions-answered
Software

Hotmail.co.uk migration to Outlook.com: Qs answered

11 Nov 2019
Visit/careers/28219/it-manager-job-description-what-does-an-it-manager-do
Careers & training

IT manager job description: What does an IT manager do?

28 Oct 2019
Visit/business-strategy/31780/the-it-pro-panel
Business strategy

The IT Pro Panel

28 Oct 2019

Most Popular

Visit/microsoft-windows/32066/what-to-do-if-youre-still-running-windows-7
Microsoft Windows

What to do if you're still running Windows 7

14 Jan 2020
Visit/operating-systems/25802/17-windows-10-problems-and-how-to-fix-them
operating systems

17 Windows 10 problems - and how to fix them

13 Jan 2020
Visit/hardware/laptops/354533/dell-xps-13-new-9300-hands-on-review-chasing-perfection
Laptops

Dell XPS 13 (New 9300) hands-on review: Chasing perfection

14 Jan 2020
Visit/web-browser/30394/what-is-http-error-503-and-how-do-you-fix-it
web browser

What is HTTP error 503 and how do you fix it?

7 Jan 2020