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The Google View of the Forthcoming UK Comms Regulatory Landscape #deappg

Google’s Sarah Hunter impresses at the Communications Bill Forum.

Google’s Head of UK Public Policy, Sarah Hunter was a breath of fresh air at last week’s Communications Bill Forum.  Firstly she was one of the few speaking without just reading out a prepared speech. It can get boring listening to someone reading out their notes.

Secondly she offered a perspective based on a platform as opposed to most of the other speakers who were largely either content providers or  pipes.

  1. The government should not make policies that favour specific industries without considering the wider impact elsewhere.
  2. Open platforms should be protected – both content and pipes need them and they are expensive to build and maintain
  3. Keep a sensible approach to data protection. In other words allow targeted advertising.  The direction the EU is going is not good in this respect.
  4. Encourage and promote investment in computer science and engineering – engineers are taking over the world.
  5. Concentrate on consumer education – digital literacy and consumer empowerment. In other words keep kids safe online by education (and not mandatory web filtering – my words).
As always we have to strike a balance and how well the government does this will greatly influence how UK industry thrives online Her first point was a reference to the proportionality of the Digital Economy Act.
The data protection issue is a difficult one.  Whether they like it or not I get the feeling that the long term future of revenue generating for businesses operating online, certainly for content providers, is going to be substantially driven by advertising.
If this is the case then the advertising model needs to be one that works for all parties, including consumers and this either means we accept the degree of “intrusion” being sought by the likes of Google, Phorm et al or we very carefully define what is and isn’t permissible. Not the subject of a short blog post but perhaps one that might usefully be covered in a 2 year debate running up to the next Communications Bill.
Trefor Davies

By Trefor Davies

Liver of life, father of four, CTO of, writer, poet,

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