Who cares about tech regulation?

This post is by Benedict Evans from Essays – Benedict Evans

When I look at the engagement on this website, and in my newsletter, it’s vey clear that anything I write about regulation gets the least engagement. This isn’t not just me: I hear much the same from other writers, and from friends at the big newspapers: stories about tech regulation get less traffic. And yet, most of my audience is in tech (I have over a thousand newsletter subscribers with Google email address, for example). These are audiences that r interested in lots of other things, from cars to chips to advertising to VR, but the government is coming for you and you don’t care? 

There are some obvious reasons for this – regulation is boring, mostly – but I think one could also suggest that most of the laws and rules that are being discussed simply won’t affect most people in tech very much at all, nor most tech companies. 

At the simplest level, several thousand companies are founded in the Valley alone each year and very few of them are social networks. Not many more are ad-funded. So, two of the biggest areas of the tech backlash, content moderation and privacy, don’t really apply. If you let consumers share files then you need to worry about CSAM, and if you handle user data you need to think about HIPA, GDPR and so on, but these are annoyances and a cost of doing business rather than existential problems, and if you’re building enterprise SaaS DevOps they just don’t (Read more…)