Interesting Issues & History

This area of the website sets out to do two things.

First, it contains information about currently controversial regulatory topics not discussed elsewhere in this website.

Second, it contains a summary history of regulatory developments.  Material from the 'current topics' section will be summarised and added to this history when they are no longer of current interest.

Current Topic 1 - Regulation and Innovation

We seem to be undergoing a further Industrial Revolution in which the physical, biological and digital worlds are coming together in the form of new technologies such as machine learning, big data, robotics and gene editing. Regulators have for some time noted the disappearance of boundaries between the various forms of communication:- "It's all now bits and bytes". But road vehicles and aircraft are nowadays little more than complex IT systems in aluminium shells. And biologists now use the same language as software engineers, using concepts such as coded instructions, signalling and control. Indeed, the genetic code in DNA uses only four chemical bases (A, C, G & T) whose sequence needs to be read, decoded, and translated into the more complex amino acid alphabet used to form proteins. "Life = Matter + Information."  These developments raise interesting regulatory issues, not least because of the huge and increasing power of the technology giants, and the growing concerns - and maybe alienation - of the many now powerless in our society.

You might like to begin by looking at regulation and innovation in the round. and the need for regulation to protect those alienated from modern society.

You might then like to read about ...

Regulating these rapidly developing technologies

Big Tech, Social Media & Internet Safety

How should we regulate social media so as to ensure Internet Safety without compromising freedom of expression?

Other Sectors

Other Current Issues

Concerns about the Over-Use of Henry VIII Powers

'Nudging' and Behavioural Economics

International Comparisons


The first 4000 years  - Regulation from pre-history through to around 1980.

1980 - date - A summary of important regulatory developments.


Martin Stanley

Spotted something wrong?
Please do drop me an email if you spot anything that is out-of-date, or any other errors, typos or faulty links.