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Digital Regulation Services

The explosive global growth in digital communication and commerce during the last quarter of a century has fundamentally and permanently changed the way the world works, learns, plays and thinks. The Internet has created enormous societal, individual and corporate value – but until recently it has outpaced policymakers' ability to create effective and consistent regulatory frameworks to govern the various challenges that exist online. New waves of regulation are coming from governments around the world which will require a profound and thoughtful response from Internet Companies and the opportunity to drive towards compliance as a competitive advantage.

Internet Regulation Services

What is Internet Regulation?


Policymakers understand that alongside the profound societal, individual and corporate benefits of the online revolution, there is also the potential for the Internet to be exploited by bad actors. For example at a national level we see political interference, misinformation and the enabling of terrorism and at a personal level the misuse of data, and cyber-harassment and the associated impact on mental health.


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A formal definition for 'Internet Regulation' doesn’t yet exist. However, one way to view it is the response taken by policymakers to put in place appropriate safeguards for the Internet. Safeguards such that the Internet can be continued to be used for its positive uses whilst reducing the inherent and systematic risks that have become the by-product of a global connected network. These safeguards fall into 12 Key Topic Areas:


Why do people think the Internet needs to be regulated?

"In the last 40 years there has been an explosion of digital communications enabled by the Internet. From bulletin boards and blogs, to social networks, to video streaming apps and endless comment threads, we all use the internet to work, learn, plan and live many other parts of our lives.

"But as the world has become connected, we're facing the same challenges we see in the real world - with harmful and antisocial behaviour, political misinformation and crime - but now unconstrained by national borders and able to spread instantly and affect many more people. Naturally, policymakers are looking to ensure that the Internet is a safe and open space for everyone."

Nick Seeber, Global Internet Regulation Lead, Deloitte Partner


What organisations are governments looking to regulate?

Whilst the 'Big Tech' organisations of Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple and Microsoft are the primary intended targets of much of the new wave of regulation, there are many more digital native companies that will also be implicated. A useful way to view this is to consider the different Internet /digital archetypes that exist and consider if your organisation falls into any category:

Additionally, the reach of digital businesses and the implications of Internet Regulation goes beyond the world of 'Big Tech'. Companies such as utilities, healthcare providers, pharma, retailers and manufacturers are all evolving new business models that place as much reliance on customer and business environment data as any Internet Company. Organisations that serve targeted advertising and/or content, facilitate online marketplaces and digital payments, have customer loyalty apps, and are considering the use or development of AI technologies all need to take this wave of regulation into consideration and understand the impact that some of the new requirements will have on their business.

What are the key principles of Internet Regulation?

Over the last few years, some landmark Internet regulations, primarily in Europe, have become household names (e.g. the EU General Data Protection Regulation and the upcoming EU Digital Services and Digital Markets Acts). However, there are in fact a huge number of Internet regulations globally that touch upon one or more of the topics listed above with varying levels of requirements, clarity and alignment.

However, when you look into the detail of these regulations it is becoming clear that that jurisdictions and regulations across the Globe are converging on the key principles of trust, safety and competition across all regulatory topics. Organisations would be well placed focussing on a proactive and holistic approach to these concepts, rather than addressing the individual regulations in a siloed and one-off exercise.

Why should companies comply with Internet Regulation?


Failing to respond to this regulatory shift could have enormous strategic, financial, reputational, legal and operational impacts on Internet Companies as well as other companies that may fall under their scope.

Many of the organisations that will be impacted by these regulations have typically focused on growth: products, users and usage, content, channel partnerships and enabling IP and talent. But in a more highly regulated environment, the challenges of governance, compliance, accountability and trust will need to be more prominent.

There are however many benefits to complying with these regulations ranging from increased trust from customers, the ability to scale at speed safely and simplifying compliance so that more time can be spent on innovation and growth.

We believe that a once-in-an-era opportunity for competitive advantage presents itself for those organisations who can use their innovation skills to meet these compliance challenges.


How can Deloitte support you in your journey to compliance?

"Ireland, as far back as the 1950s when IBM and Ericsson set up offices here and since the arrival of the Google European headquarters in the early 2000s, has long been one of Europe’s leading and rapidly growing digital hubs, with many European HQs finding their home here, as well as start-ups finding their feet here. Increased digitalisation, new technologies (AI, robotics) and a growing data eco-system is bringing even more opportunities, new products, services and business models.

"Naturally, this brings the need for Regulation to protect society and those most vulnerable in our society and, in order to regulate, we need a Regulator. Ireland is no stranger to this either, with the Data Protection Commission here having a key role and have now seen the establishment of a new media commission taking a lead role on enforcement of this regulatory wave. This wave should not be seen to stifle or impede innovation, however. It should be viewed as an enhancer and enabler to build societal and individual trust."

Nicola Flannery, Internet Regulation Lead, Deloitte Ireland

Deloitte helps companies to respond to Internet Regulation at a global level and deliver holistic risk-aligned and tech-enabled compliance.

In order to navigate the complexity and breadth of topics covered through internet regulation, we have assembled a multi-disciplinary practice spanning SMEs across all relevant skillsets and member firms. Our team of experts brings together legal and regulatory expertise, technological innovations, and comprehensive solutions to help you understand the complex domain of Internet Regulation which includes the design and implementation of the following: