2024: The Year of Tech Regulation?

With 2023 (unofficially) dubbed the ‘year of AI’ across the tech industry, I’d like to make my own prediction for the coming year: 2024 will be remembered as the year of tech regulation. 

In previous months, we’ve already seen significant developments in regulation across all the sectors Babel works in, although 2024 will likely be the year when legislation is finalised and industries receive the clarity and guidance they’ve been waiting for. 

Key tech regulations to watch out for 

If you’re wondering where to begin, here are some of the developments that we’re keeping an eye on this year…
AI has exploded onto the tech scene in full force, for both businesses and consumers alike. Discussions around approaches to regulations, of course, have already started to take place, but we’re now all eager to see the final text of the EU AI Act, which will class different AI systems according to risk, determining the level of regulation required. Once approved, the EU AI Act will be the world’s first rules on AI.
We’re also keeping an eye on developing regulations in the cybersecurity and fintech sectors. 
On the cyber front, the EU’s NIS2 Directive came into full force in 2023, which modernised the existing legal framework to keep up with increased digitisation and an evolving cybersecurity threat landscape. The EU Cyber Resilience Act (CRA) is also making its way through legislative processes in early 2024, with the aim of safeguarding consumers and businesses that use or buy software with a digital component by introducing mandatory cybersecurity requirements for manufacturers and retailers. The UK government is even beginning to draft an official Cyber Governance Code of Practice and is currently looking for views from businesses and organisations – if you’ve got something to say, then get in touch
In the fintech and financial services space, the EU Digital Operational Resilience Act (DORA) is arguably one of the most important regulatory initiatives in the pipeline this year, as it looks to strengthen the security of financial firms to ensure that they are better equipped to ‘stay afloat’ during periods of operational disruption. Think natural disasters, system outages, global pandemics…
Watch this space!

A blessing or a curse? 

The introduction of regulations can be considered a blessing and a curse for many within the related industries. Regulations support businesses by establishing regional or global standards to adhere to, which can provide a sense of clarity and control, protect consumers, and ensure that technology is developed and utilised in a way which benefits everyone. 
And yet, regulation also brings additional burdens to businesses. Overly restrictive regulations have the potential to stifle innovation (especially in the AI space) by limiting the flexibility of tech companies to experiment and expand their product capabilities. 
The financial burden is also heavy, with the threat of costly fines if compliance can’t be demonstrated, which will likely disproportionately harm SMEs as they attempt to compete with larger enterprises. Luckily, there are companies out there which can support this (shoutout to our client Solidatus!
Differing regulatory standards across regions and jurisdictions can also be problematic for tech companies working across markets, with global fragmentation disrupting international trade and collaboration. 

PR heaven

This being said, for those of us working in the PR sector, regulation can only be described as ‘PR heaven’. As an ongoing news story in both national and trade media, if you’re looking to secure coverage across the board, then talking about regulation is the way to go. 
At Babel, this is something that we directly support our clients with, helping them to stay one step ahead of competitors and positioning them as thought leaders in the industry.
Straight off the bat, we conduct a thorough review of ongoing developments in regulations in the industries related to the client at the beginning of the campaign, so we can be aware of what’s expected to be announced in the next 6-12 months. From there, we work with our clients to consider if there’s an angle that they could (or, should) comment on, and what exactly this can look like. 
We see ourselves as the external ‘radar’ for our clients, keeping track not only of the regulations themselves but also what the media is saying about them. Cue: issues jumps! 
As soon as headlines begin breaking with the latest news in regulation, we’ll draft a punchy comment (or use one which we’ve tactfully drafted in advance) and reach out to the media. With coverage subsequently secured, your spokesperson, and company more broadly, is immediately positioned as the voice of the industry, and a leader in your field. 
We’re often told that it can feel daunting to comment on a potentially controversial topic, but this is exactly why you should do it! Journalists aren’t looking for vague or weak opinions – you need to say something unique that will get you noticed. It’s our job to guide you through it, and we’ll even offer media training to support first-time or anxious spokespeople to give them the confidence and know-how to be able to ‘show off’ in the best possible light. 
Of course, having strong and personal relationships with the media comes in handy here – lucky for us, that’s our strong suit!
As we navigate the evolving landscape of tech regulation in 2024, staying informed and proactive will be key to spotting and leveraging opportunities. If you’re interested in learning more about how PR can work for you and your company, please get in touch at newbusiness@babelpr.com 

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