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Data Governance Top of Mind for Tech Policy Chiefs

On Thursday, The Information hosted a roundtable on what's next in tech regulation with PwC. Here's what was top of mind for our attendees, who included the heads of policy at a dozen tech companies.

Europe's Digital Services Act: Expected soon, this legislation could limit how big tech companies use data across their products and do things like pre-installing their own apps in their own devices. Many of the attendees said the rumored provisions seemed untenable, suggesting a big fight ahead.

Post-GDPR, many leaders said there has been a growing interest throughout all divisions of their companies, including sales and engineering, in data privacy and compliance, given the questions they receive from customers and how the privacy rules have shaped their roadmaps.

Many attendees expected an uptick in state privacy legislation soon, noting progress of some state bills stalled during the pandemic. They still hoped for a federal privacy law to override state laws and help with compliance challenges.

Attendees were curious as to whether the Biden administration will view large U.S. tech companies as national champions of a sort and want to preserve their power to compete with Chinese companies. That has been a key defense of Facebook and Google as they have faced antitrust scrutiny. Some felt the argument that American tech companies need to stay powerful would resonate with President-elect Biden, whose advisers are believers in "American exceptionalism."

We also surveyed our subscribers to understand which topics policy leaders are focusing on. Some of the findings:

  • 41% believe current antitrust regulations are poor
  • 61% consider their company to be adequately investing in ensuring employees are apprized of regulatory compliance.
  • Top 3 Policies impacting business: data privacy, workforce and the regulation of emerging technologies
  • 94% of respondents are focused on shaping regulatory policy in the U.S., followed by Europe, China, India and South America.

View the full results, presented by PwC, here.