What is it about?

This article deals with the regulation of internet platforms in the United Kingdom. It analyses how the line-up of regulators has developed and why they work the way they do. It puts present developments in the wider context of the UK's departure from the European Union - known as 'Brexit'. The article takes current geopolitics seriously and shows how it is playing out by producing shifts of policy on net neutrality and data trade. Much of the article deals with the Digital Regulators Cooperation Forum - the grouping of key UK regulators - and how this is now receiving greater political scrutiny. This is an example of the uneven and relatively slow international process of gearing up to regulator Big Tech.

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Why is it important?

This is the first article to describe the origins of the Digital Regulators Cooperation Forum (known as the DRCF) and to show how British regulators have combined forces to try and address the wide-ranging challenges posed by the diverse content on digital platforms. The UK government is trying to establish its power to convene and devise models that others will follow.


This is important because digital platforms play a massive role in our political, economic and cultural life. There is now an increasing attempt by states internationally to grapple with questions of regulation. Despite Brexit, the UK's approach has much in common with the European Union, although it is also distinctive and seeking to establish distance while maintaining cooperation. There is a global competition to set the paces for platform regulation and we will need to see how these new developments stand up to the test. Is this just a nerd's interest? Well, I hope not. This a field in which both major interests are at play and expert knowledge is needed to shape the debate. There's a real democratic public interest in getting at least the gist of what's at play, in a game effectively monopolised by elites.

Professor Philip R. Schlesinger
University of Glasgow

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: The neo‐regulation of internet platforms in the United Kingdom, Policy & Internet, March 2022, Wiley, DOI: 10.1002/poi3.288.
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