The weekly summary of tech policy and politics from Taso Advisory Issue 57 / 15 July 2022
The Online Safety Bill is delayed
Twitter was on fire on Wednesday night as it emerged that the Government was removing the Online Safety Bill's final Commons stages from next week's order paper. The Government says this is because the vote of no confidence is taking up parliamentary time, and the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill is taking priority. That's true, but the Bill has also been kicked around in the Tory leadership contest, and the delay is in part to avoid tying the hands of the next PM and Digital Secretary.
In practical terms, the Bill has actually only currently been delayed by about a week. Even if the Bill had finished in the Commons next week, it wouldn't have started in the Lords until September, after the summer recess.
But there's a very good chance that whoever the next PM and Digital Secretary are, they will want to do some tweaking, or perhaps wholesale amending. Three of the remaining five candidates have a position on the Bill, with Mordaunt having committed to continue and with Badenoch and Truss giving strong indications they would make serious amends (Braverman, who was knocked out and is now supporting Truss, has also said she'd give the Bill a "serious rethink". The outcome of the Tory leadership contest will have a big impact on the future shape of the Bill. We're keeping track of what the candidates say on the Online Safety Bill, and on tech policy more broadly, here.
Other stories this week
Ofcom and the CMA set out position on online safety and competition (link)
The online safety and competition regulators issued a joint position on the interplay between their two remits. Lots on how the two intend to work together, and not quite as much as might be expected on existing examples.
Information Commissioner's Office sets out three year strategy (link)
John Edwards, the new Information Commissioner, set out his three year strategy for the ICO in the creatively named "ICO25". The ICO will be focussing on algorithms in the benefits system, the impact of AI in recruitment, and "predatory marketing calls".
Online Safety Bill would allow fake news to flourish, according to academics (link)
A group of academics and activists wrote Nadine Dorries to express their concern at an amendment to the Online Safety Bill which would require news publisher content to be kept up while a platform decision to remove was appealed. The academics argued that this would allow peddlers of fake news to act in bad faith. I'm reminded of a very sane piece of news publisher content that was pushed through my letterbox.
Next week in Parliament
On Monday we're expecting the Data Reform Bill to be introduced to the Commons.
On Tuesday the DCMS Committee will take oral evidence on connected tech: smart or sinister.
On Thursday Lord Davidson of Glen Cova has an oral question on making the UK a global cryptoasset technology hub. There will also be a debate on the Communications and Digital Committee report Digital Regulation: Joined up and Accountable.
What we've been reading and listening to
Peter L. Bernstein: Against the Gods: The Remarkable Story of Risk
We launched the findings from the first six months of the Taso Tech Tracker. The Taso Tech Tracker provides insight into the British public's views on the regulatory and political questions that are most important to technology companies. Taso Advisory uses this data and analysis to support policy and public affairs teams to address the issues that matter most to them. If you'd like to arrange some time to go in depth, drop me a line.
Tracking what the Tory leadership candidates think about tech policy (link)
With the Tory leadership contest in full swing, we've been performing a public service by running a live tracker of the candidates' positions on tech policy. Bookmark it!
If you'd like a conversation about how Taso Advisory can support you, please just get in touch.
Did you like this issue of The Policy Download?
Subscribe to receive it again, and share it with your friends and colleagues.