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

We have reached the end of the first full week of a Boris Johnson Government; a Government that now has had its working majority cut to just one following the Liberal Democrat victory in the Brecon and Radnorshire by-election.

And if we needed more evidence that Boris’ team are gearing up for a General Election you need only look to the flurry of testing on Facebook ads that is underway. Regardless of when the next election comes it will be interesting to see how political parties approach the digital air war in a world of increased scrutiny over digital political advertising.

On Tuesday we received confirmation of how the digital portfolio would be shared across DCMS Ministers. Nigel Adams MP takes on cyber, data, Brexit and international whilst the bulk of the brief (online harms, digital infrastructure, digital and tech policy and digital skills) will be in the care of Matt Warman MP. We look forward to working with them both and our new Secretary of State, Nicky Morgan MP, to make the UK the best place in the world for tech and ensure people, communities and societies are at the heart of that.

This week recently installed Home Secretary, Priti Patel, hosted the Five Eyes in London to discuss ‘emerging threats’. The two-day meeting covered a range of issues such as tackling child sexual exploitation online to borders and asylum. The big news surfacing from what is predominantly a closed-door meeting is that the encryption fight looks like its back on. Writing in the Telegraph, Priti Patel called for law enforcement agencies to be given access to end-to-end encrypted communications via a backdoor. techUK is clear that any technical weakening of end-to-end encrypted would leave us all less safe online – countering efforts from Government and the NCSC to increase cybersecurity amongst UK businesses and individuals.

Finally, a team of academics is arguing that an AI system should be recognised, through the awarding of a patent, as an inventor/creator. Currently the law states that an inventor must be a person but the question is should that be changed? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this!

techUK news and events


techUK is proud to support the work of the Institute of Coding, a large national collaboration of industry, government, educators and outreach providers working together to respond to the UK’s digital skills gap. As part of that work, the IoC is examining the different motivators that influence women and men in choosing a career in digital (e.g. those working in technology, computing, computer science and coding). If you have a spare 10 minutes please respond to this questionnaire (which is completely anonymous) to help better inform their actions.

Looking ahead to September, techUK is hosting an introductory evening on the 9th for members who have recently joined. If that’s you then sign up to find out more about everything techUK do. If you haven’t joined yet but think techUK membership could be valuable, why not come along and learn more about exactly what membership involves.

  • Vinous Ali

    Vinous Ali

    Associate Director for Policy
    T 07595 410 658

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