A joined-up approach to digital regulation enhances cooperation across the regulatory landscape

The Digital Regulation Cooperation Forum (DRCF) published, on 10 March, its first annual plan of work which describes how Ofcom, the CMA (Competition and Markets Authority) and the ICO will greatly increase the scope and scale of their co-operation.

For the ICO this means, for example, developing joined-up regulatory approaches with its partners. In 2021, special focus will be put on the overlap of data protection and competition regulation, the Age-Appropriate Design Code and the regulation of Video-Sharing Platforms and Online Harms.

Since 2018, the ICO and Ofcom have been working together to jointly research Internet users’ concerns about, and experience of, online harms, including on the protection of children.

The CMA said: “We will launch joint projects on complex, cross-cutting issues. The CMA has already published new research on algorithms, showing how they can reduce competition in digital markets and harm consumers if they are misused. This research and any feedback on it will inform the future work of the DRCF. Other projects will include research into service design frameworks; artificial intelligence; digital advertising technologies and end-to-end encryption.”

“We will collectively build a more comprehensive view of industry trends and new innovations in digital technology to understand shared implications for regulation.”

In January 2021, the CMA opened a formal competition investigation into Google’s Privacy Sandbox proposals.

ICO’s Elizabeth Denham said: “Through the DRCF we will be working closely with the CMA and Ofcom. Our workplan is a roadmap towards pragmatic, practical solutions to the challenges arising from our increasingly digital world. Practical cooperation between regulators will drive better outcomes for business and individuals.”

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) will join as a full member from April 2021.


Read about developments at the ICO and the Age-Appropriate Design Code in the next issue of PL&B UK Report.