Regulating for Digital Policy in the EU: A Toolkit Approach: CELS Webinar

Speaker: Professor Colin Scott, University College, Dublin


Colin Scott is Professor of EU Regulation & Governance at University College Dublin, where he currently serves as Vice President for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, Principal of UCD College of Social Sciences and Law and Dean of Social Sciences. He was previously Dean of Law in UCD and has held academic posts at the University of Warwick, the London School of Economics, the Australian National University and the College of Europe Bruges. His main research interests lie in the field of regulatory governance and he served as Convenor of the ECPR Standing Group on Regulatory Governance from 2016 to 2021. He has held editorial positions at the Modern Law Review, Law & Policy, and Legal Studies and currently serves on the Editorial Board of The Conversation UK.


The European Union has long prioritised policy making to address the development and regulation of the large, complex and dynamic digital sector. Focusing on the regulatory aspect, numerous policy challenges have emerged, ranging between issues of privacy and competition through to behavioural issues for social media and the challenges from the development and wider use of AI. Digital developments present substantial economic and social opportunities but also great risks, many with high policy salience. The risks are such that they threaten the reputation and legitimacy of market actors, in addition to creating policy challenges for governments, alongside social challenges. In sectors where market reputation is threatened by business behaviours and loss of trust, we frequently find market driven governance emerging. In sectors where community interests are threatened by business behaviours we frequently find community-driven regulation. Given the recent history of digital policy, seeking to address old problems, new problems and old problems in new guises, it is surprising that narratives about regulation from government, businesses and community continue to centre state regulation to such a large extent, with relatively little emergence of market-driven or community driven regulatory governance. To a striking extent the emphasis of regulating for digital policy in the EU is largely focused in legislative measures deploying governmental tools rooted in hierarchy. This paper takes a toolkit approach to understanding the range of options not only for how to regulate, but also who regulates within governmental, market and community-based mechanisms, with emergent examples.

For more information see: https://www.cels.law.cam.ac.uk/weekly-seminar-series
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