The weekly summary of tech policy and politics from Taso Advisory Issue 55 / 17 June 2022
Government publishes data consultation response (link)
This morning the Government has published its response to the Data: a new direction consultation. This has been billed as one of the big "Brexit dividends": the freedom to create a more innovation friendly data protection regime outside of the EU. There's certainly plenty of criticism of the GDPR. I should say that I think the officials working on this at DCMS have done a really good job of it.
There's a lot in the response and I won't sum it all up here (get in touch if you'd like a Taso Advisory summary). The real question here is whether any of the positive changes are worth risking data adequacy. The Government previously worked really hard to secure a positive decision from the European Commission, and every business you speak to would rather adequacy than reform. The loss of adequacy would be a legal fees tax for basically every UK business, and not very long after basically every UK business has had to get compliant with GDPR. Dividends indeed.
DCMS published the beta version of the digital identity and attributes trust framework. This work is really interesting (and DCMS is doing genuinely good work on hard stuff) and has real implications across commerce, anonymity, travel, and so much more. Proper tech touches everything stuff.
DCMS published a refreshed Digital Strategy. It's hard to criticise in that it basically sums up everything the Government is already doing, without doing much of what I think could reasonably called "strategy". This thread from techUK's Neil Ross sums up well a view that I share.
More line by line scrutiny of the Online Safety Bill (link)
We plodded on through the Commons committee stage of the Online Safety Bill. A few notable points. Chris Philp (the responsible minister) confirmed the Government is looking at how categorisation is set up to capture smaller, riskier platforms (lots of mentions of, e.g., BitChute). Philp also suggested that the Government's work on loot boxes would be handled through the Online Advertising Programme which is a big change if true. Kirsty Blackman (SNP) called loot boxes "literally gambling" (Kirsty, I don't think you're using the word "literally" right).
Next week in Parliament
On Monday Baroness Merron has a question on non-inclusion of media literacy provisions in the Online Safety Bill, and the imposition of an updated statutory duty on Ofcom relating to media literacy.
On Tuesday we've got more line by line debate on the Online Safety Bill. The Lords will have day one of committee stage of the Product Security and Telecommunications Infrastructure Bill.
On Wednesday the Women and Equalities Committee will take evidence on pornography and its impact on violence against women and girls. The Online Safety Bill will definitely feature in that session.
On Thursday we've got more line by line debate on the Online Safety Bill. The Fraud Act 2006 and Digital Fraud Committee will take oral evidence.
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