EU regulatory trends (note to self)

I am jotting down this note to myself.

Few days ago I was thinking at some background trends that it seems to me are underpinning the evolution of EU Digital policies.

The first one I would call “Antitrust Originalism”. It seems to me we are departing from the antitrust interpretation promoted by the Chicago School: no longer the north star seems to be the momentary advantage to consumers but rather the long term economic power and political effect of megacorporations. Antitrust was originally conceived as an economic tool to limit the political power of few self-appointed, un-elected persons. There we are again. Debating with Brussels based on Chicago’s interpretation seems to me a loss of time. Focus on the political effect instead.

The second is what I called before “regulatory ladder”. Nothing really new, it’s the idea of increased regulation based on the size of the company, with some intermediate steps between small and large. It seems to me this approach is getting traction and we’ll likely see more.

The third one is a responsibilization of companies via self-assessments. We’ve started to see it with the GDPR which, instead of the approach of the 2002 eprivacy regulation, now requires companies to self-assess and self-define the right approach to minimize/avoid risks. This responsibilization approach is far more flexible and future proof. Defining specific actions/requirements focuses on processes. Emphasizing self-assessment and consequent actions, puts greater responsibility onto companies, and focuses on outcome. Furthermore, it requires a continuous re-examination as technologies and operating context evolve. This type of approach can be found also in other upcoming rules.

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