Consultancies on legal and regulatory regimes governing big tech companies
Big tech companies have become too powerful. They dominate entire markets, deploy technologies that can cause harm and negatively impact democracies, individuals, communities, and only try to mitigate these effects when legally obliged or with strong financial incentives. In their current state, they have the power to shape the tech of the future and cannot be trusted to regulate their activities and prevent harm. Different countries have tried different approaches, either ex-ante or ex-post, to limit the power of big tech, with varying levels of success.
Purpose of the consultancy
As part of its on-going work on data and competition, PI seeks to identify and analyse the various approaches that different countries or regions have taken with regard to regulating the tech industry. The aim of the consultancy would be το provide PI with an in-depth understanding of the successes and shortcomings of these approaches so that we can develop guidance for policymakers and regulators exploring ways to prevent the harms of existing big tech companies as well as to limit the emergence of new tech companies with a potential for abuse.
Scope and Outputs
We are interested in consultancies that focus on one of the following jurisdictions: Brazil, China, European Union, India, Nigeria and United States of America. For each jurisdiction, the consultancy should focus on selected aspects of the legal and regulatory regime with regard to big tech companies, online platforms or services that were or are still active, between 2000 and today, in digital markets such as social media, e-commerce, online search, and online advertising. Specifically, each consultancy should produce a detailed analysis discussing the history, evolution and impact on the tech industry of the country's/region's legal and regulatory regime governing digital markets, based on the suggested parameters contained in Annex I below.
- The consultant will have extensive experience in legal and policy research. They will have a background in law, policy and technology, as well as a demonstrable ability to collect, interpret, and summarize policy from a wide variety of resources.
- The consultant will be expected to be able to analyse laws, decisions etc in the official languages of the country concerned.
- The consultant shall ensure that only clearly lawful methods of research are used.
- The consultant shall provide documentation and/or references to support analyses which can be verified by PI.
- The consultant shall ensure that any information obtained from fee-based online databases is done so in line with the database’s terms of service.
Timeline and Remuneration
The analysis under section 'Scope and Outputs' above should be delivered no later than 31 December 2023.
All the data and evidence mentioned in the briefings should be free to publicly use without constraints.
Each consultancy is expected to last a maximum total of 20 days. Remuneration is £250 per day, and the total fee to be awarded for each consultancy shall not exceed £5,000.
How to apply
Please send a copy of your CV, samples of past research you have carried out as well as a short research proposal explaining how you intend to approach the research within the aforementioned timeline, what specific issues or questions your analysis will focus on as well as possible research risks you might encounter and how you plan to mitigate those.
Applications should be sent to email@example.com by 1700 BST on 20 September 2023. Please use "Big Tech Consultancy - Region" as the subject of your email with the region you are applying for (e.g. 'Big Tech Consultancy - Brazil').
We expect to make the selection of the consultants by 1 October 2023.
For any questions regarding the consultancies, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. See how we handle your data here.
Annex I: Research questions
Note: The research questions below are meant to serve as general guidance for the parameters we expect the consultancies to cover. In their research proposal, applicants might select to focus on some of the questions and/or suggest other parameters or research questions that they believe are relevant for the jurisdiction/region they are applying for. The outline and content of the analysis will be further refined or expanded as needed following an agreement between PI and the consultant.
A. Legal and Policy Landscape
Between 2000 and today, what has been the legislative landscape governing online platforms and services, from a competition/anti-trust, consumer, and data privacy/data protection perspective?
- a. Provide a detailed overview of all relevant legal instruments, such as laws, orders, decrees, etc., that have been enacted during the specified period.
- b. Describe the government rationale behind the adoption of these legal instruments and their intended objectives.
- c. Analyze the interaction between these legal instruments and other laws or regulations, highlighting any conflicts or synergies.
- d. Identify any instances where relevant legal instruments have been repealed and provide the justification for their repeal.
- e. Investigate if any new legal instruments have been adopted or are being discussed with a primary focus on the regulation of online platforms/services. What is the rationale behind these new instruments, and how do they compare to existing/traditional ones?
- f. Explore any trade-related implications of the legal and regulatory regime, including trade agreements, trade barriers, cross-border data flows, and their impact on the global digital economy.
B. Regulatory Landscape
What key regulatory actions have been taken against online platforms/services during the specified period, including investigations, fines, and decisions from a competition/anti-trust, consumer, and data privacy/data protection perspective?
- a. Indicate all relevant regulatory actions, detailing the nature of the action, the platform/service involved, the legal basis for the action, and its outcome.
- b. Analyze the regulatory approach taken by the authorities, including their enforcement strategies, the frequency and severity of penalties, and the effectiveness of these actions in addressing concerns related to online platforms/services.
- c. Evaluate the impact of regulatory actions on the behavior and practices of online platforms/services, considering factors such as changes in market behaviour, consumer protection, competition, and data privacy/data protection.
C. Evolution and Impact on Online Platforms/Services
Provide a historical analysis of the legal and regulatory regime governing digital markets in the specified jurisdiction, focusing on the evolution of policies and approaches over time.
- a. Identify key milestones, shifts in policy paradigms, and significant developments in the regulation of online platforms/services.
- b. Discuss the impact of these regulatory measures on the growth, behavior, and dominance of online platforms/services within the jurisdiction.
- c. Assess the effectiveness of the legal and regulatory regime in achieving its intended objectives, considering aspects such as competition, consumer protection, data privacy/data protection, and innovation.
- d. Analyze any unintended consequences or limitations of the existing legal and regulatory framework in addressing the challenges posed by big tech companies.
- e. Identify and discuss any ongoing debates, controversies, or proposed reforms related to the regulation of online platforms/services in the jurisdiction.