Emerging Technology Charter for London launched

During London Tech Week Mayor of London launches the Emerging Technology Charter for London

In July 2020 the Mayor of London tasked the Chief Digital Officer for London and the Smart London Board to develop a set of criteria to guide emerging technology in London. The Charter was developed in the open, with a draft version published in December 2020 to gather wider views and comments. techUK members inputted their views on the principles via a workshop we convened with the Greater London Authority in January 2021. The Charter officially launched on the 23 September as part of London’s Tech Week.

Purpose and governance

The Charter is a set of practical and ethical guidelines focussed on openness, digital rights, use of data and sustainability of technology aimed at government and public services, makers, innovators, technologists, elected representatives and interested Londoners. It is important to note the Charter is voluntary but public services and industry are encouraged to adopt it to improve how technology is implemented in the capital.

London’s Emerging Technology Charter aims to:

  • Set common expectations to tech buyers and makers to innovate successfully.
  • Give Londoners and their elected representatives a clear framework to ask questions about the technologies proposed or deployed in London.
  • Establish enhanced transparency for Londoners on products and services that data protection law considers potentially high risk to privacy.

The Charter will cover technology such as driverless cars, facial recognition software, drones, sensor networks, robotics, mobility services, augmented and virtual reality, and automated and algorithmic decision-making. In a blog by London’s Chief Digital Officer, Theo Blackwell, it states that many capabilities and uses will be in the smart cities sector, a field which applies new technologies to improve the operations of city government and others, and ultimately the quality of life for citizens.

Next Steps

Given the voluntary nature of the Charter the Chief Digital Officer for London will be undertaking a number of next steps to turn it into reality. These include working with the London Office of Technology & Innovation to incorporate into their smart city playbooks and exploring the creation of the Charter as a digital service.

Georgina Maratheftis

Georgina Maratheftis

Programme Head, Local Public Services, techUK

Georgina is techUK’s Head of Local Public Services.

Georgina works with suppliers that are active or looking to break into the market as well as with local public services to create the conditions for meaningful transformation. techUK regularly bring together local public services and supplier community to horizon scan and explore how the technologies of today and tomorrow can help solve some of the most pressing problems our communities face and improve outcomes for our people and places.

Prior to techUK, Georgina worked for a public policy events company where she managed the policy briefing division and was responsible for generating new ideas for events that would add value to the public sector. Georgina worked across a number of portfolios from education, criminal justice, and health but had a particular interest in public sector transformation and technology. Georgina also led on developing relationships across central and local government.

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