Tech giants face major regulatory challenges, warns GlobalData

Tech giants face major regulatory challenges, warns GlobalData

Key areas of scrutiny include data privacy, antitrust, AI ethics, and online harm, particularly in Asia.

The rising dominance of tech giants in the global landscape has drawn the attention of regulators, especially concerning issues related to data privacy, antitrust, AI ethics, and online harm. A recent report by GlobalData anticipates a significant wave of regulatory actions targeting these areas.

Laura Petrone, principal analyst for the Thematic Intelligence Team at GlobalData, expounded on these findings and provided a comprehensive perspective on the evolving landscape.

“The main regulatory challenges big tech companies will face over the next few years come from four main areas: data privacy, antitrust, AI ethics, and online harm,” Petrone told the Asian Business Review in a recent interview.

She acknowledged that whilst data privacy laws, like the General Data Protection Regulation, are well-established, there is a growing effort to regulate other aspects such as antitrust and online harm.

Europe, for instance, has introduced the Digital Markets Act and the Digital Services Act, both set to become fully applicable soon. “For AI ethics, the European Union’s AI Act is currently the most advanced legislation available,” Petrone noted.

But how do these regulations impact big tech companies? Petrone said that companies profiting from personal data are especially vulnerable. Notably, tech behemoths like Meta, Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, and Tencent are also exposed to antitrust regulations.

“They could potentially qualify as ‘gatekeepers’ under the European Union’s new antitrust legislation,” she said.

With heightened regulatory scrutiny spanning Europe, the US, and even Asia, big tech companies need to recalibrate their strategies.

At this point of the interview, Petrone highlighted the shifting regulatory environment in Asia, especially China’s increased scrutiny of companies like Alibaba due to antitrust concerns.

She pointed out China’s new data protection laws and India’s recent approval of the Data Protection Bill, emphasising the challenges companies face in navigating this fragmented regulatory environment.

“One of the main aspects of India’s Data Protection Bill is the easing of data localisation requirements. However, the government still retains oversight on which countries can receive personal data from Indian users,” noted Petrone.

Given this intricate landscape, Asian tech giants face a daunting task.

“Asia’s tech scene is dynamic with robust potential, but navigating the complex regulatory environment can be challenging,” said Petrone. “While some core principles on data privacy are shared, specifics like the processing and cross-border transfer of personal data vary widely across jurisdictions.”

This lack of uniformity could place extra strain and costs on big tech companies operating in multiple jurisdictions within Asia.

In conclusion, she said that as global regulators adopt a more assertive stance towards big tech, companies must continuously adapt their strategies to this shifting regulatory backdrop, especially in Asia, which presents its unique set of challenges.

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