Elizabeth Denham has done far more than most to rein in big tech. But she is alarmed at the mismatch in power between democracies and Silicon Valley – and efforts to politicise the regulator she leaves.

For the past five years, stories about the harms caused by social media giants have followed a wearisome and familiar pattern.

First, scandal erupts. Next, the cry goes up: Something Must Be Done! (See also: Up With This We Will Not Put!)

Then, reflecting headlines and noise on (ironically) social media, a meeting is convened, for which ambassadors of the tech giants are summoned.

Finally… not much happens.

This pattern has been seen over and over and over again.

And the common theme in these stories is how some big societal harm often falls between regulators, with Ofcom, the Advertising Standards Authority, and the Competition and Markets Authority, all sticking understandably to their remits.

Elizabeth Denham, the information commissioner who steps down next month, has been…

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