Monday, 20 June 2016

Brexit and the Digital Age

In all the back and forth over whether the UK will vote to leave or remain in the European Union we have been deluged with carefully timed statements from various business leaders telling us what would be best.

Notable by their absence (unless I missed it) are statements from some some of world's biggest digital businesses whether we should leave or stay. Google, Microsoft, Amazon and others have all kept a pretty low profile even though they are generally enthusiastic lobbyists of Government.

Perhaps they are anticipating an interconnected fluid global economy where location and government matter far less and only to the extent that it dictates the tax base and weather you enjoy (or not). If you want to sell online services to an international customer simply target your marketing at them and ensure your online presence can be viewed by the correct IP address range.

To defend their world view the Digital Single Market is being pushed hard by the EU but it remains the case that policing the internet proves much more difficult than policing physical goods.

The role of an entity such as the EU is less in the Digital Age as we are all by default trading or starting to trade on a global basis and others are doing the same.

In the event that the UK voted for Brexit how would the EU actually enforce the new general data protection regulations for example ?

There are many good reasons to both vote leave and vote remain but either way the role of the EU as an "aggregator" is less needed than in the pre-internet era when it was originally conceived.

Meanwhile - something from the archives about why we joined the EU to begin with;

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