The vision is to drive prosperity through pro-innovation regulation of digital technologies while minimising serious harms to the country’s economy, security and society.
The digital sector contributed £151 billion to the economy in 2019, attracted more VC funding (£11.2 billion) than Germany and France combined in 2020, and employs more than two million people.
The new plan sets out three guiding principles policymakers must follow and states that the government should only regulate when absolutely necessary and do so in a proportionate way.
Actively promote innovation. Policymakers must back innovation wherever they can by removing unnecessary regulation and burdens and considering non-regulatory measures such as technical standards first.
Achieve ‘forward-looking and coherent outcomes’. Digital technologies are evolving fast and transforming traditional sectors across the economy, so policymakers must make sure new regulation complements, rather than contradicts, existing and planned legislation.
Exploit opportunities and address challenges in the international arena. Digital technologies are borderless and policymakers must take a global view.
They must always consider the international dynamics of proposed regulation – from our existing international obligations including trade deals, expected future agreements, and the impact of regulations developed by other nations.
Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “How we govern digital technologies is one of the most pressing issues of our age. Today we are setting out a pro-growth vision to shape the future. “Our principles-based approach will ensure innovation is embedded in any new regulation, and we will look to reduce red tape to enable our vibrant tech sector to thrive.”
To support the delivery of a joined-up approach to regulation, the government is working closely with the recently-established Digital Regulation Cooperation Forum (DRCF) – a voluntary forum comprising the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) and Ofcom.