Responding to the publication of the Furman Review into digital competition in the tech sector, techUK CEO, Julian David, said:
“Jason Furman is right to recognise the huge benefits that tech businesses have brought to consumers, in addition to the thousands of jobs tech firms have created. The UK is a world leading digital economy because it embraces the principles of fair and open competition – and it must continue to do so. It is critical that any changes to competition law build on existing good practice and understand the importance of maintaining a diverse ecosystem of large and small players to the UK digital market.
“The report’s recommendations around ensuring that regulators have sufficient expertise in digital sectors display a strong understanding of the importance of getting technical decisions right. Bad regulation can be as big a barrier to competition and innovation as monopolistic activities. We hope that Government ensures that this expertise is not just limited to the CMA, but spreads across all of those Government bodies engaging in digital policy.
“However, while the report contains some positive suggestions, significant further detail is needed on what a proposed code of conduct might look like. Equally, there must be a full assessment of the risks and benefits of requiring companies to open up data sets. Such issues raise important questions around the protection of personal data which may not easily be overcome. There may also be technical barriers to such a proposal due to the interoperability of data sets. techUK will continue to engage with Government on these issues, but is clear that any new requirements must be developed in partnership with the industry, and not brush over the practical challenges that may arise.
“It is also vital that Government recognises the global nature of the tech sector and does not seek to work in isolation. The UK must remaining a welcoming place for digital business from around the world, and ensure that the UK competition and wider regulatory framework is not in conflict with the other leading digital economies with which we must compete.”