The digital era has firmly put its stamp on our everyday lives and as a result, consumers are faced with new innovations, updates, and technological advances that are providing more access and options than ever. The tech that is driving this digital surge is providing more questions to which operators and consumers alike need answers. Although doing things in the digital world has already become second nature to many, regulations and stricter measures are still being introduced to ensure that users can still exercise their rights within the online realm. For the tech industry, this is potentially the start of a new framework for them to work within.

The biggest introduction of 2024 so far is the Digital Markets Act, officially implemented in Europe on 7th March 2024. The 2022 law will have huge repercussions for not only the “six gatekeepers”, but other big players in the tech industry. The new legislation aims to create a more open digital market and give people more control over what they can access on online platforms. 

With tech becoming a more prominent part of our lives due to the digital rush, there is currently more emphasis placed on regulating the tech industry to provide a standard for companies to orientate their operations around. Alongside the DMA, a couple of the legislations listed below provide insight into how new regulations can significantly affect the tech industry and other industries reliant on it.

Safeguarding the youth

One of the main repercussions of the digital takeover is more time spent online, particularly on platforms produced by tech industries such as social media channels. There is almost a necessity to have access to the online realm as more and more activities are shifting into digital formats. Even traditional aspects such as reading a physical newspaper or paying with physical money are becoming less commonplace. However, the problem for many, especially parents or teachers, is ensuring that the younger generation is not venturing into online spaces that they should not be. 

The Online Safety Act, introduced on 26th October 2023, was legislation implemented in the UK that placed heavier emphasis on companies operating in the digital world to take on more accountability for the services they are providing. In a similar move to Utah’s recent amendment (13th March 2024) to their previous Social Media Regulation Act, the emphasis was placed on tech companies to increase the amount of regulation, especially amongst younger users to protect their mental health and upbringing. The OSA has a particular focus on managing illegal content to prevent activities such as child sexual exploitation, fraud, and terrorism. For the tech industry, new acts such as the two mentioned above will have significant implications for tech companies due to the increased requirement to make large amendments to privacy settings, as well as the overall restriction in place on the content they produce. These regulations have not been popular with all, with some companies like WhatsApp objecting to proposed rules, so the full impact of the OSA remains to be seen. 

Protective online boundaries

While ensuring that the younger generation is shielded from potential online dangers is highly important, providing a safe, online environment for people to roam around in is a general objective for all regulators and lawmakers and one that applies to all industries. Over the past few years, the tech industry and its technological and software arsenal have gained more influence in the entertainment industry, with more people than ever, of all ages, owning mobile devices with access to online content. 

The online casino industry has really benefited from tech, from the website platforms themselves to a broadened variety of payment methods and many providers even have their own apps. However, in keeping with ensuring that consumers are protected in the digital world, online casinos and online betting companies have had to work through a good measure of red tape to ensure their platforms are compliant. The government’s new slot stake limits are a new hurdle the industry will need to navigate. Thanks to these rules suggested in the government’s gambling white paper, all of the top 20 online casinos in the UK will have to implement £2 per spin maximum stakes for those under the age of 25 and £5 for older players from September.

The rule is designed to provide more protection in the digital world from gambling addiction. This assertion has been challenged by some who believe it could lead to higher use of unregulated platforms. Regardless, for the industry, this could be a significant blow, owing to potential revenue lost from these new spending limits. 

What next…

On the whole, there is a lot for the tech industry to contend with right now. Tech regulators around the world are starting to form a tighter grip on the digital world and as a result, tech companies are forced to make large-scale changes and risk potential financial losses or large fines if they do not comply. Regulations will continue to be refined due to the rise of AI and chatbots with the EU Artificial Intelligence Act set to provide further guidance on how to manage AI’s influence in the online realm. For tech companies of the present and future eras, the need to be flexible and compliant is more paramount than ever. As the digital age progresses, there are bound to be more regulations introduced that will continue to shake up and shape the tech industry.