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Ireland could be ‘bridge’ on digital regulation
(L to R): Professor Lauren Pech (UCD) and Carlo Salizzo (Matheson) Pic: Matheson

10 Nov 2023 / technology Print

Ireland could be ‘bridge’ on digital regulation

Almost one-quarter of professionals who attended a Matheson/UCD event on the digital economy said that they had reviewed their insurance to include cover for new risks and obligations arising from regulatory changes.

The conference was also told that Ireland had “a unique opportunity” to act as a gateway between the EU and the US, and to strike a balance between regulation and innovation in order to boost European competitiveness in the area of digital innovation.

The Matheson/UCD Leadership Series Event on regulating the digital economy was held in UCD this week.

According to a survey of attendees, 90% of respondents said that the burden of identifying rights and obligations under the latest digital-regulation legislation had become more complex.

Cyber-security and operational resilience was identified as the priority in 2024 for 37% of respondents, while GDPR and data-protection law was cited by 27%. Almost one -quarter said that regulation of AI would be the priority for them next year.

Harmful content

The first of the two panel discussions at the event dealt with regulation.

Recently appointed Commissioner for Online Safety Niamh Hodnett spoke about the significant breadth of Coimisiún na Meán's regulatory responsibilities, which span legislation from the Digital Services Act to the Online Safety and Media Regulation Act, and the EU Anti-Terrorism Regulation.

She also said that the legal landscape on what constituted harmful and illegal content was a concept that would develop over time.

‘Balance to be struck’

Dualta Ó Broin (head of public policy for Ireland at Meta) spoke about the potential for Ireland to build on its role as the “transatlantic bridge” to encourage further engagement between the US and Europe to bring closer co-operation in the area of digital regulation and new technologies, such as AI.

“There is a balance to be struck by the European Union between the excellent progress which has been made in the important area of regulation, by the co-legislators and bodies such as Coimisiún na Meán and the Data Protection Commission in Ireland, with the need to encourage innovation and the future competitiveness of Europe at a global level," he told the conference.

A second panel discussed looked at how competition policy remained a key pillar of the overall digital-regulation landscape, and at how enforcement of competition rules sat beside other areas of digital legislation.

Matheson partner Carlo Salizzo also told the event that the firm had created a new digital-economy group, which it describes as a collaborative group of experts from across a wide variety of practice areas.

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