techUK Policy Pulse | Your weekly update on digital and tech policy

Hello and welcome to Policy Pulse!

It’s Giles Derrington here, filling in for Vinous, who may or may not still be stuck on a train outside Waterloo. That’s right, the sun is shining, Parliament is in recess and so naturally climate change protesters have chosen this moment to upset every commuter in London. If preventing people dancing like this isn’t a good enough reason to support the rapid development of environmental technology, I don’t know what is!

But the threat of imminent global destruction hasn’t stopped policy makers using this week to focus again on issues of internet regulation. First up is the Information Commissioner’s Office who published their proposals for a new Age Appropriate Design Code. The code goes much wider that originally expected and means that anyone, providing online products are services that might be accessed by children, will be caught. The question of how companies will assess the age of those accessing services without going against the GDPR requirement to minimise data collection remains just one of the many questions still to be answered. You can read our initial take here.

This week also saw the Government announce that the 15 July (incidentally the Birthday of Twitter!) will see the introduction of the so-called “Porn Laws”, which will require Age-Verification in order to access adult content. The plans, which have already been delayed twice, will include both mandatory requirements for ISPs and voluntary measures for other companies to deal with sites that seek to get round the ban. On the plus side, we can expect a big advance in UK digital skills as every teenager in the country learns how to use VPNs.

And wrapping up from last week’s Online Harms White Paper, my colleague Ben Bradley has produced a useful read out on the areas likely to be in the spotlight during the consultation process.

Finally, on a lighter note, if last week’s black hole photography got us all excited about space again, then this week gives us a chance to see how space research can help on our own planet. The UK Space Agency has today announced a new register of space and satellite technologies expertise that can help tackle development issues such as disaster response, food production and deforestation.

techUK news and events

Next Thursday (25 April) sees techUK head to Bristol to host the second annual Future of IoT Conference alongside Experis and HBB, focusing on the huge benefits that IoT and data can bring to manufacturing. Book your place here.

With climate change in the news, techUK is partnering with the Carbon Trust on 2 May to look at how tech firms can set ambitious carbon targets and use the latest science to adopt net-zero emissions strategies. Find out more here.

Conflict minerals is a huge issue for tech companies and on 29 April we’re running a conference on how businesses from all sectors are responsibly sourcing minerals and managing due diligence. Full agenda and free tickets here.

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