This week saw Apple announce the departure of Jony Ive, the designer of such game changing products as the iMac, iPod and iPhone. Timeless, sleek and innovative, I’m Vinous here with this week’s Policy Pulse.
We start, of course, with Brexit, and the ongoing discussions as to whether the UK is really heading for the exit without a Deal. This week current bus-painting enthusiast Boris Johnson, said we would indeed leave at the end of October “Do or Die”. Not the most reassuring line for a Halloween exit.
As for how such a No Deal outcome would affect the tech sector, our own Associate Director for Policy, Giles Derrington, was in front of the Exiting the European Union Select Committee on Wednesday to talk about the impact of No Deal on Services. He warned that despite the UK continuing to be a great place to invest in tech, there are already signs of uncertainty taking its toll.
Giles has also written this week for London First on some of the impact of Brexit on digital services, including the ongoing need to secure an adequacy agreement for the free flow of personal data.
Speaking of personal data, the Biometrics Commissioner Annual Report was laid in Parliament this week and makes for an interesting read. In it he notes the “rapid technical improvement of a range of new biometrics” and the complexity in creating frameworks that stand the test of time. You can read the full report here.
Interesting research published by the Commission on Workers and Technology, chaired by Yvette Cooper MP, has found that 58% of workers feel that they can’t influence how technology changes their workplaces. As technology becomes more integrated in the workplace it is vital that employees have the skills necessary to benefit from it and are engaged in the process. This is an issue that techUK is actively examining and we recently chaired a session on just this with speakers from Prospect Union and the TUC at CogX which you can watch here.
Meanwhile, the Secretary of State for Digital, Jeremy Wright, used a speech at the NSPCC’s Annual Conference to announce that he and the Justice Secretary have asked the Law Commission to review the current communications offences to establish whether the law is fit for purpose, and make specific recommendations about options for legal reform in this area.
Over in Brussels, the European Commission’s High-Level Expert Group on AI (AI HLEG) has this week published their 2nd deliverable, a series of policy and investment recommendations for Trustworthy AI. Read our summary here.
Finally, re-emphasising the spread of technology across the entire UK economy, Science Minister Chris Skidmore today announced the first 31 projects to benefit from the government’s dedicated Transforming Food Production Challenge, employing technologies to move towards providing greener, cleaner processes for the agricultural sector.
techUK news and events
With the temperature hitting 45 degrees in Paris, and the UK set for a 33 degree weekend, it seems good timing for the UK Government to have made a little bit of history this week by passing legislation that commits the UK to be first G7 country to enshrine net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 into law. techUK is launching a new group on 17 July to discuss how tech can contribute to net-zero, to learn more click here.
For techUK it has also been a big week as we launched our third annual State of the Connected Home report, in partnership with GfK. The report shows consumers are beginning to find value in the overall connected home. Read the full findings here.
Our Annual Dinner, set to be the biggest yet, is now only two weeks away. You will need to move quickly to secure your place at tech’s glitziest night of the year.
Finally, if you are lazing about in the sun this weekend have a listen to this month techUK's podcast which explores how to make the most of technology tools that enable greater collaboration, and drive improvements in public service delivery.