UK Regulators will be working more closely together in future to oversee digital markets.

Concerns about tech have increased during the pandemic with a sharp increase in cyber crime and the use of data collected during the pandemic causing concern amongst citizens. Data has become a more contentious area.  A number of data class actions  – some of which follow high profile cyber and data security incidents – have been issued in the last year.

At the same time some have called into question the ability of data protection regulators to cope with an increased volume of work following the introduction of the GDPR in May 2018. Last year, for example, a complaint was filed to the European Commission by the company Brave alleging that EU member states had failed to take sufficient steps to ensure that data protection supervisory authorities were capable of enforcing GDPR.

Andrea Coscelli is reported to have said this month: “Today we are seeing the combined effect of changes in business models, potentially lack of regulations and under-enforcement of the regulations.”

A new forum was set up last year involving The Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”), Information Commissioner’s Office (“ICO”) and Ofcom – The Digital Cooperation Forum (“DRCF”) –  to help ensure online services work well for consumers and businesses in the UK. Read more here.

A new Digital Markets Unit has been established within the CMA to oversee a new regulatory regime for powerful digital firms. Ofcom will regulate online harms in the UK using the new Online Safety Bill, which is expected to be finalised in 2021 and then pass through Parliament.

The FCA joined the DRCF on 1st April.

It is now expected that the ICO and the CMA will issue a joint statement shortly to set out how they plan to work together and overcome any tensions that exist between the regulators’ policy objectives.

The DRCF’s workplan for 2021/22 was published on 10th March 2021. Read more here.

One of the three priorities in the workplan is developing approaches for delivering coherent regulatory outcomes where different regulations overlap. This work will consider how planned new regimes for online regulation may interact with wider existing regulation such as financial regulation and intellectual property rights.

The announcement regarding Information Commissioner, Elizabeth Denham’s successor, is also expected shortly.

Increasingly, clients will require multi-disciplinary legal teams to support them with digital, mirroring the close co-operation of the regulators.

Key contacts

Andrew Moir
Andrew Moir
Partner, Global Head of Cyber and Data Security, London
+44 20 7466 2570
Kate Macmillan
Kate Macmillan
Consultant, London
+44 20 7466 3737