Tech Legal Outlook 2024
Key topics for you to prepare for in 2024
Explore the topics in the publication
As technological advances drive digital change, the demands on digital infrastructure are anticipated to increase significantly: from data centres to provide the enhanced compute capacity for new industries, to high capacity mobile and satellite connectivity, and terrestrial and subsea fibre cables, to support the exponential demand from high speed data services from consumers and businesses. Digital infrastructure is therefore likely to continue to attract investors despite challenges in the market.
There is consensus among antitrust authorities across the globe that tech deals can raise significant competition concerns and as a result, regulatory hurdles to M&A are rising. It has become harder than ever to predict precisely where and how concerns arise, and the conclusions different regulators will reach on whether a deal is problematic.
The rise of generative AI in 2023 has brought new insights into the potential for AI to transform business and drive digital change. To unlock the potential of AI in 2024 and beyond, organisations will need to address the evolving legal landscape and establish the right governance and risk management to safeguard their interests.
In October 2023, the UK’s long-anticipated Online Safety Act (OSA) became law. The OSA is one of the world’s most ambitious pieces of online safety legislation, imposing significant obligations on up to 100,000 services. In 2024, online services will need to take steps to comply with the OSA, part of the complex web of legislation across the globe.
We are at a significant inflection point in EU regulation of digital markets. After years of policy forming, the European Commission is switching to enforcement mode. The Digital Services Act, with its system of tiered obligations for internet intermediaries, includes onerous new requirements for designated “very large online platforms”. Similarly, the Digital Markets Act imposes wide-ranging new rules on so-called “gatekeepers” which may entail changes to their business models.
As enforcers consider their toolkit for digital markets in 2024, antitrust enforcement against Big Tech could significantly impact the antitrust playbook for Big Tech. In Europe, the Commission has largely shifted to ex ante regulation, but is continuing to progress some significant precedent-setting cases. In the US, enforcers embraced enforcement in the sector more recently, but their initial test cases are coming to fruition.
China has largely shifted into relying on more informal enforcement mechanisms, while private litigants are exploring new ways to extend jurisdiction over US tech platforms. These developments will help to define the enforcement environment for Big Tech platforms going forward.
In a digital world fuelled by data, cyber risk has become an-ever present danger. High-profile cases have highlighted the significant financial and reputational costs of a cyberattack. Businesses will need to adapt to safeguard their data, ensure operational resilience and comply with new cyber specific legislation.
Collective redress in Europe remains a hot topic, with larger tech players often the target of mass claims. The deadline for implementing the EU’s Representative Actions Directive passed in June 2023 with only some Member States meeting it. The emerging picture suggests we should expect significant change in some jurisdictions in 2024.