The Policy Download

The weekly summary of tech policy and politics from Taso Advisory
Issue 49 / 22 April 2022
We've been away for about seven months following me trying to balance running a business and being the dad of a now 7 month old (!). We're back to regular service now - we hope you still enjoy it! 
 Feature story 

Second reading of the Online Safety Bill (link)

The Online Safety Bill had its second reading in the House of Commons on Tuesday. A lovely first day back from Recess treat for MPs.

Probably the most remarkable thing was the relative lack of MPs indicating their interest in expanding the scope of the Bill. We had anticipated that this Bill would be a Christmas tree, with everyone hanging their issues on it. Instead, we saw a focus on scope, lack of clarity and freedom of speech.   

My longstanding concerns about the Bill remain. It's too big, too broad, too self-contradicting, and too badly drafted. In conversations with people who have spent lots of time working on this Bill, it's clear that they all have quite different views of what the draft law actually says.

We're on to Committee Stage next, and I'm looking forward to seeing how MPs get on with the line by line scrutiny of this monstrosity.
 Other stories this week 

New rules for subscriptions (link)

The Government is going ahead with amendments to the law requiring businesses to, among other things, be clearer with consumers up front about subscriptions and allow for consumers to more easily get out of their contracts. This follows the CMA's push with some digital businesses to change their subscription practices. 

No new law for digital competition (link)

There's lots of reporting that the Government is shelving its plan to put the Digital Markets Unit, the new body focussed on digital competition, on a statutory footing with new powers. The Government had been expected to include a competition bill in the Queen's Speech, scheduled for 10 May. 

Common charger legislation makes progress (link)

The EU has made progress in its plans to standardise chargers for certain devices. I'm no expert, but this sounds like a great way to prevent any progress in the future. Nice! 
 Next week in Parliament 

On Tuesday the Lords Science and Technology Committee will take evidence on delivering a UK science and technology strategy

On Wednesday the Commons Science and Technology Committee will take evidence on diversity and inclusion in STEM
What we've been reading and listening to

Bryan Burrough and John Helyar: Barbarians at the Gate

Charlie Rose: Warren Buffett (link)
 Our recent work 
Webinar on the Online Safety Bill with Rt Hon Jeremy Wright QC MP

We're hosting, in partnership with UK tech specialist law firm Wiggin, a webinar on the Online Safety Bill with Rt Hon Jeremy Wright QC MP. Jeremy was previously the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and led much of the development of the Bill. Jeremy was also previously the Attorney General, bringing a unique perspective. If you'd like to register for the event, please just drop me a line.

Online Safety Bill workshops

We've been running workshops with a number of new and existing clients on the Online Safety Bill now it has begun its journey through Parliament. If you'd like to organise for our expert team to run a workshop with your business, let me know! 

POLITICO article on the UK's post-Brexit tech strategy

I spoke to Annabelle Dickson at POLITICO for her excellent article on the Government's ambitions, and lack of real action, for a post-Brexit tech strategy. 

If you'd like a conversation about how either Taso Advisory can support you, please just get in touch
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The Policy Download is written by Ben Greenstone and the team at Taso Advisory.

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Ben tweets at @ben_greenstone.
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