UK Chancellor Phillip Hammond Suggests New Regulation for Digital Firms Possible

Lloyd Doyle
March 15, 2019

The chancellor commissioned a report past year from a panel of economists, led by the Harvard academic Jason Furman.

A new competition unit with expertise in the sector should be set up, the independent review said, and innovation should be encouraged by giving people control over their own data so they could switch between rival services and platforms easily.

The review has recommended the market is opened to increase consumer choice and give people greater control over their data. He also expressed the view that it would give the government an "understanding of the operation of platform markets which rely on digital advertising for revenue" and enhance the CMA's ability to detect and assess digital mergers when these may be of concern.

The CMA confirmed that subject to an orderly exit from the European Union (and therefore resources) it will carry out a review to assess how regulation affects competition in the United Kingdom business environment. "I think the United Kingdom can do better".

The Digital Competition Expert Panel was established by the Chancellor in September 2018.

Large companies should be required to provide access to key data sets to smaller firms. Competition is fundamental to ensuring the market works in the interest of consumers, but we know some tech giants are still accumulating too much power, preventing smaller businesses from entering the market.

The review called for stronger powers for regulators to tackle anti-competitive practices, as well as changes to merger rules so the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) can better stop digital mergers that are likely to damage future competition, innovation and consumer choice.

Damian Collins MP, chairman of the House of Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) select committee also backed calls for tighter regulation. The Panel was chaired by Professor Jason Furman and composed of experts in economics, competition policy, law and computer science - Professor Diane Coyle, Professor Amelia Fletcher, Professor Philip Marsden and Professor Derek McAuley.

The report - commissioned by Chancellor Philip Hammond on behalf of the government and published today ahead of the Spring Statement - recognises the digital economy has delivered many benefits and helped change the way people live their lives for the better.

"This comes at a critical moment ahead of the beginnings of regulation from Government to rein in the powers of the tech companies".

"My committee was concerned by the treatment of inferred data by large tech companies such as Facebook, and it is essential that the Government acts to protect consumers".

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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