A new sub-regulator – the Digital Markets Unit (DMU) – has been launched to give consumers more choice and control over their data, promote online competition and crack down on unfair practices within the digital marketing/advertising sector.
The DMU will be overseen by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) and forms part of the Government’s plan to enforce a new pro-competition regime to cover technology platforms which currently wield huge market power; with the ultimate aim of developing a ‘modern regulatory regime fit for the digital age’.
The DMU will initially begin by looking at how a code of conduct could be implemented to govern the relationships between digital platforms and the stakeholders which rely upon them to advertise their services to potential customers.
The Unit will also work with Ofcom to establish how such a code could govern the relationships between platforms and other content providers, such as news publishers. The aim is to help join up the somewhat siloed approach currently taken in the regulation of the UK’s digital marketing sector.
In launching the DMU, the Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden said:
“Today is a major milestone in the path to creating the world’s most competitive online markets, with consumers, entrepreneurs and content publishers at their heart.
“The Digital Markets Unit has launched and I’ve asked it to begin by looking at the relationships between platforms and content providers, and platforms and digital advertisers.”
While in theory the DMU and its aims sound world leading in terms of tech regulation, it is important to highlight that it currently has no legal power. How effective the Unit will become, and how the related wider UK tech regulatory reforms pan out, remains to be seen.