The Policy Download

The weekly summary of tech policy and politics
Issue 43 / 27 August 2021
 Feature story 

Arm, Nvidia and competition (link)

The CMA published the executive summary of their investigation into Arm and Nvidia (just as last week's Policy Download went out, which is really rude of them). 

Basically, it confirms what everyone who has been following this expected. There are competition concerns, particularly because Nvidia could limit their competitors access to Arm's designs. Some of Arm's customers had apparently flagged this to the CMA. It's not in the CMA's remit, but there are also national security concerns: can the UK afford to lose (such as we would, considering Arm is currently owned by SoftBank) a semiconductor leader in the current global context? 

It seems really unlikely that Nvidia's takeover is now going to go ahead. What do SoftBank now do with a business they clearly want to offload? And does the Government do anything to incentivise UK ownership? 
 Other stories this week 

The Age Appropriate Design Code comes into force (link)

The Age Appropriate Design Code is about to come into force (02/09/21). It should be an enormous overhaul for how a lot of the internet works. A reasonable reading of it requires most of the internet to be age-gated. But the ICO say they won't enforce on that basis yet. Love to see a regulator picking and choosing when to enforce, it makes it very simple for businesses to plan and comply. 

A new Information Commissioner (link)

The Government has announced its preferred candidate for the next Information Commissioner. John Edwards is currently New Zealand's Privacy Commissioner, and has been a vocal critic of Facebook et al. 

And a promise to tear up GDPR (link)

Oliver Dowden, the Digital Secretary, gave a big interview to The Telegraph (behind a paywall, obviously) promising to cash in the "Brexit dividend" of freedom to create a more flexible data and privacy regime. This Twitter thread from Mark Scott of POLITICO does a great job of explaining what's going on. 
 Consultations to note 

Online safety and online harms: DCMS Sub-committee on Online Harms and Misinformation (link) - opened 27/09/21, closing 03/09/21.

Digital identity and attributes consultation: DCMS (link) - opened 19/07/21, closing 13/09/21.

Draft Online Safety Bill: Draft Online Safety Bill Joint Committee (link) - opened 29/07/21, closing 16/09/21.

UK Prospectus Regime: HM Treasury (link) - opened 01/07/21, closing 24/09/21. 

A new pro-competition regime for digital markets: DCMS (link) - opened 20/07/21, closing 01/10/21.

Draft international data transfer agreement: Information Commissioner's Office (link) - opened 11/09/21, closing 07/10/21. 

Reporting rules for digital platforms: HMRC (link) - opened 30/07/21, closing 22/10/21. 

Enterprise Management Incentives: HM Treasury (link) - opened 03/03/21.
 Next week in Parliament 

The Neverending Story, Part II: A Parliamentary Recess
What I've been reading and listening to 

Reeves Wiedeman: Billion Dollar Loser: The Epic Rise and Spectacular Fall of Adam Neumann and WeWork
 My recent work 
The Online Safety Bill

At Taso Advisory we're working on responses to the two Parliamentary inquiries looking at the draft Online Safety Bill. We're doing this for some of the UK's most exciting startups and scaleups, and also for major listed businesses. This legislation will change the rules of the internet. If you need to respond, get in touch.

Media, tech and entertainment event

I'm looking forward to speaking at a Bird & Bird event on 28 September. It's in person! If listening to me speak doesn't put you off, you can sign up here

If you'd like a conversation about how either Taso Advisory or Greenstone Research can support you, please just get in touch. 
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Ben Greenstone is the author of The Policy Download.

Ben is the managing director of Taso Advisory, a public policy consultancy, and the director of Greenstone Research, a subscription policy research service. Before this, Ben was an adviser to UK government ministers, including two ministers with responsibility for digital and the creative industries.

You can get in touch with Ben at: or

Ben tweets at @ben_greenstone.
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