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Effective digital oversight is crucial for responsible digitalization

Going about your business online has become an inextricable part of today’s society. Both the government and the corporate sector offer their services digitally, and the technological developments in this area follow each other in rapid succession. This calls for clear boundaries as well as effective digital oversight.

That is why the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM), the Dutch Authority for the Financial Markets (AFM), the Dutch Media Authority (CvdM), and the Dutch Data Protection Authority (AP) in 2021 joined forces in the Digital Regulation Cooperation Platform (SDT). By working together, we are able to take advantage of the opportunities that digitalization and digital technologies offer, and, at the same time, citizens are protected against the risks thereof. However, this also calls for political backing and political action for creating the right preconditions. After all, sufficient resources, time, tools, and clout are essential for being able to conduct effective oversight.

Strengthening oversight is of great importance. Citizens must be better protected in the digital domain. To that end, many new European laws are on their way. The true value of these statutes lies in the interpretation thereof and in the compliance therewith, which means oversight is essential in that context. Regulators have a unique, independent, and scrutinizing role in society. If citizens or businesses face problems, it is the digital authorities that provide countervailing power against both the tech sector as well as the government.

Effective cooperation between digital authorities is also of importance, since the Netherlands is one of the most digitalized countries in Europe. Digitalization is one of the key drivers behind our country’s earning power, and it offers opportunities to international traders to set up business here. Clarity, predictability, and legal certainty (as well as compliance with the law) are essential elements of a welcoming business climate. Regulators help make it more welcoming by providing information, giving advice, and explaining the rules and norms. In this way, oversight helps prevent a build-up of rules.

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