How will Brexit impact the tech sector?

This site tracks updates and developments on the UK’s implementation or adaptation of specific European policies, regulations, and laws impacting the digital and tech industries throughout the Brexit process. The policy monitoring is split across two areas: the Digital Single Market strategy, and the growing shape of UK domestic legislation which seeks to replace the DSM as well as the EU’s foundational elements such as the e-Commerce Directive.

Research sources include policy statements from Downing Street and the Department for Exiting the European Union; the adversarial examination of the process from Parliament, including the European Scrutiny Committee; Hansard; the European Memoranda repository; research from the House of Commons Library; official EU statements pertaining to Brexit and tech; and well-informed expert commentary.

Employment
The digital sector employs 1.5 million people in the UK – that’s 4.5% of all jobs in the UK. (Source)
Income
The digital sector contributed £130.5 billion to the UK economy in 2017. That’s 7% of UK GVA – ten times as much as farming and fisheries. (Source)
Trade
The UK’s tech sector exported £19.4 billion worth of digital services to the European Union in 2017 – that’s almost half of the UK’s digital exports in total. (Source)

Why this site?

It is critical for professionals, leaders, and policymakers to understand the impact that leaving the European Union will have on our work in the tech and digital sectors. There are implications for everything from data protection to privacy to accessibility to intermediary liability. These changes on the international level are accompanied by a domestic move towards stricter regulation of the internet as well as the privatisation of law enforcement onto the tech industry.

It is more important than ever before for those who will be impacted by these developments to organise, speak up, and represent our needs throughout the Brexit process and beyond. An informed understanding of the issues at hand is the key to those actions, and this site will provide the knowledge base you need.

What’s at stake?

Three years after the UK voted to leave the European Union, it has become clear beyond doubt that the process is being used to fundamentally redraft the legal and social foundations of the open web, our access to it, and our use of it, under the guise of “taking back control”. We must not assume that any domestic equivalents or eliminations of European digital laws will be any better than what they replaced; we must not assume that our sector will be consulted or respected; and we must proceed on the understanding that the removal of European safeguards will not protect our industry our or users.

This is a daunting time for us, both personally and professionally. Yet as digital professionals, we are only helpless bystanders to this process if we choose to be. Please use this site to empower your advocacy efforts on behalf of our industry.