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Technology Legal Outlook 2020

Technology Legal Outlook 2020

As part of our annual Year in Review, Year to Come campaign, we have produced a Technology Legal Outlook 2020 publication. This publication looks at six global themes relating to tech companies, digital markets and emerging tech. It provides an overview of the key legal, risk and regulatory issues at a time of increasing scrutiny and regulation and a climate of heightened risk. We cover regulation of Big Tech, data and AI, tech investments, tax and employment issues and cyber warfare.

Visit our dedicated Technology page to find out more about our technology advice and lawyers, explore our technology focussed thought leadership or watch our videos covering technology convergence and distributed ledger technology.

6 Technology Predictions for 2020

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Looking from a global perspective we have identified 6 key predictions for the year to come.

1

Regulatory response to Big Tech in 2020

In 2020, we expect to see the continuation of increased scrutiny of, and moves to regulate, “Big Tech” and digital markets. Growing concerns about the dominance of certain online platforms, their data use and responsibility for various types of “online harm” have driven significant moves across the globe to use anti-trust tools against powerful players, introduce digital services taxes and regulate online content.
2

The impact of Big Data

Organisations are leveraging data like never before. Big data is considered by organisations to be critical to their competitive advantage: deploying artificial intelligence; personalising marketing, products and services; and improving their operations. In 2020 we expect developing data practices, particularly adtech, to be in the spotlight.
3

Cyber warfare

Cyber attacks continue to hit the headlines and result in significant liability and business disruption for organisations. However, the greatest concern remains the small number of attacks originating from state-sponsored actors. Organisations will need to focus on cyber-security and operational resilience to protect their data as an asset, retain customer trust and respond effectively to any breaches or cyber attacks.
4

Employment and incentives

Tech companies face a myriad of employment-related issues: from the impact of the gig economy on employee, worker and independent-contractor status, to the challenges associated with ultra-rapid growth and the impact on governance and workplace culture. The competition for talent requires attractive incentives for founders and employees  that best serve the interest of the companies in the short term and for longer term growth.
5

Growing protectionism

Rivalry between the US and China has intensified, particularly in the race for technology leadership. We expect tensions to continue to impact tech investment and companies with relationships with China. The growing perception that technology and communication infrastructure can be critical to a nation’s interest and security is driving increased scrutiny of inward investments by foreign investors. Potential investors in tech can expect additional approvals and increased uncertainty.
6

Artificial Intelligence, ethics and intellectual property

As artificial intelligence moves into the mainstream, it raises a number of practical, legal and ethical challenges. Regulators will need to engage with these challenges in 2020 in a number of industries and we consider the approach they may take. AI also poses a specific legal issue with respect to its patentability, challenging whether the existing legal frameworks are fit for purpose.

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