Regulation works better when it is user-centric. Analog-age regulation protected consumers from dangers that have since been overtaken by new technologies. \nNew Zealand will not only be small and distant from the rest of the world, but also years behind if regulations do not keep up with technological change.\nThis is the key theme of the New Zealand Initiative andInternetNZ report Analog Regulation, Digital World on the state of regulation facing the technology sector. \nThe report, released at the 2017 NetHui, finds a few successes and many opportunities for improvement.\n\u201cWe need a greater focus on the user\u2019s perspective,\u201d it states.\n\u201cRegulation works better when it is user-centric. Analog-age regulation protected consumers from dangers that have since been overtaken by new technologies. Often those new technologies give consumers better ways to inform and protect themselves. Trying to shoehorn new services into old regulatory models hurts everyone except old incumbent producers.\u201d\n\u201cNew Zealand\u2019s public service is one of the world\u2019s most highly rated. But the pace of technological change means that even the best cannot keep up without a little help,\u201d says report co-author and NZ Initiative chief economist Dr Eric Crampton.\nThe report cautions against setting rigid or high regulatory barriers for small firms in small countries.\n\u201cRules which enable innovation need to let people do things without asking permission, and to do new things which don\u2019t fit into existing checkboxes,\u201d says Crampton.\n\u201cNew Zealand\u2019s anti money laundering regime has laudable intentions. But it has been applied too bluntly against small, low-risk entities like iPredict. High compliance costs on small firms kill innovation."\nSometimes, waiting to set our own rules might delay us from adopting new products and services. Drawing on earlier regulatory approvals from other countries, at least temporarily, could simplify things in New Zealand. Instead of classifying all new streaming content, we could take heed of how similar countries have done so.\nOther areas, like copyright, require broader reform.\n\u201cCreative New Zealanders are taking up new options for making and sharing their work," saysreport co-author James Ting-Edwards, issues adviser of InternetNZ. "That embrace of changing technology has not been matched in our 1994 copyright law. Our copyright system could be more flexible, enabling more innovative uses of data and content.\u201d\nThe report also lauds New Zealand\u2019s regulatory success stories, like the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Enterprise\u2019s regulatory framework for space launches.\n\u201cMBIE\u2019s approach in dealing with Rocket Lab gave us a world-leading framework. New Zealand will be the 11th country to reach orbit thanks to their regulatory work behind the scenes. We need to learn from that example for other large technical regulatory challenges yet ahead,\u201d says Crampton.\nThe report also says the government\u2019s commitment to open data principles needs to be seen by greater open data practice.\n\u201cNew Zealand has a wealth of microdata from surveys and we can do much to make access easier without compromising confidentiality.\u201d\nSend news tips and comments to email@example.com\nFollow Divina Paredes on Twitter:@divinap\nFollow CIO New Zealand on Twitter:@cio_nz\nJoin us on Facebook.