Adopt experimental regulatory approach for emerging technologies

There is chatter recently that regulation of emerging technologies should first address user harm. And that the proposed Digital India Act much have a dedicated chapter on emerging technologies. In this op ed in the Indian Express, Anirudh Rastogi argues that an overly prescriptive route focusing on user harm from emerging technologies may be overkill. Particularly so, for technology still in infancy, whose risks and potential are not fully understood. The focus needs to shift from risk of harm to scenarios in which it can happen. A zero tolerance to risk will adversely impact innovation. The author offers seven design principles for regulating emerging technologies. He suggests that regulation of emerging technologies should:

1.      Pursue dual objectives of promoting innovation and addressing harm. One doesn’t need to come at the cost of other.

2.      Come with expiry dates. They should be periodically reviewed, to determine continued relevance.

3.      Adopt a proportionate risk-based approach. Clear indicators of acceptable risks levels, based on data, must be designed.

4.      Acknowledge that technological problems are best solved through technological solutions. Bans betray the possibility of finding such solutions.

5.      Not happen in isolation. They requires a collaborative approach; and

6.      Empower users: Incentivising transparency, quick turnaround time, timely dispute resolution, grievance redressal, feedback loops, and putting a cost on unreasonable delays, opacity, and unaccountability.

In short, there is a need to move away from a traditional regulate-and-forget approach, which suffers from pacing problems. A more agile, iterative, experimental regulatory approach for emerging technologies should be adopted in the Digital India Act. 

Read the full article here.

This blog has been authored by Anirudh Rastogi, Managing Partner, Ikigai Law.

Image credits: Christopher Gower from Unsplash

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