International

Regulating Tech

Arcep Chair, Sébastien Soriano, taking part in Franco-Asian debates on regulating Big Tech, hosted by the Institut Français


Paris, 9th May 2019

Arcep Chair, Sébastien Soriano, will be travelling to Asia from 13 to 17 May to take part in a series of Franco-Asian debates hosted by the Institut Français, on the topic of regulating Big Tech. He will be accompanied by Antonio Casilli, a sociologist who specialises in digital labour issues.

Over the course of the week, Sébastien Soriano will deliver talks in Taipei, Tokyo and Seoul:

  • On 13 May in Taipei, on the topic: “Why Big Tech need to be regulated, and how to do it”;
  • On 15 May in Tokyo on the topic: “Keeping the Web’s original promises by regulating Big Tech”;
  • On 17 May in Seoul at the National Assembly of South Korea.

How should Big Tech be regulated?

This week of discussions will be an opportunity to examine what role Big Tech plays in the digital economy, and the influence it has on our freedoms. Faced with the dominance of this small handful of companies, regulators around the world are having to rethink their actions.

On March 8 of this year, at the South by South West Festival in Austin, Texas, Sébastien Soriano proposed five avenues for regulating Big Tech. Their originality lies in seeking options that leverage public power, not to make decisions in market players’ stead, but rather to empower the crowd: innovators and citizens alike. A more detailed explanation of these five avenues can be found here. Some are very personal, such as updating European competition law, while others echo Arcep’s current actions – a prime example being its work on devices.

Devices (smartphones, smart speakers, connected cars, smart TVs): a key to unlocking targeted and effective regulation

In carrying out its duty to enforce net neutrality, in 2018 Arcep published an in-depth and unprecedented analysis of the influence that devices have on users’ freedom of choice and capacity to innovate.

This work – which has been shared both across Europe and internationally (within BEREC, CERRE and the OECD, with the European Commission, with Members of the European Parliament working on Platform to Business trading practices regulation, etc.) – went a long way in raising awareness of the instrumental role that devices play in the internet access equation. The work also helped to underpin the decision the European Commission issued on Android’s abuse of dominant position, the adoption of the Platform to Business regulation, in particular as it pertains to app stores, and the launch of an investigation in the Netherlands into possible app store bias.