– The industry feels tired and needs a shot in the arm from next week’s budget, says techUK.
– Former ICO boss Elizabeth Denham Supervisors told them to spend more time on people’s “real-life concerns.”
– WhatsApp boss Will Cathcart. He thinks the online safety bill is pretty bad.
Good morning and welcome
Happy Friday. Before escaping to
Fun weekend plans Taking care of the kids for two days, we’ve got a packaged version for you.
Budget heater: Tech UK wants the chancellor to reverse the dismal situation in the industry by offering a “shot in the arm” in next week’s Budget. The trade body has called on the government to support tech companies with tax changes, funding for certain sectors and the release of retained strategy papers.
building blocks; His specific demands include reforming the apprenticeship levy, reversing proposed R&D tax credits (see yesterday’s edition) and investing in semiconductors, AI and quantum. Those sectors have long awaited strategies/white papers “coming soon”, so expect some more on this next week.
Additional space: The trade association also wants the government to replace ‘Help to Grow: Digital’ (a scheme that gives companies discounts on software) with tax incentives for small suppliers to adopt new technology, mimicking an Australian initiative.
Warm warning: Neil Ross, associate director of policy at TechUK, said without “real funding” from the Treasury, DSIT’s technology and innovation plan, unveiled on Monday, was in danger of being little more than “warm words”. His research of TechUK members showed that tech businesses are feeling less confident about their futures as spending increases are exacerbated by government decisions.
Why the long face? Ross added: “There is a lot of frustration as to why things like the AI white paper and the semiconductor strategy have not been brought forward, while the EU and US push forward with the ‘digital decade’ and deflationary legislation.” We need leadership from government to develop strategies for the future so that technology businesses can do what they do best and invest with more certainty.
Mark your calendars: It’s quiet today, but start marking your diaries for next week with events from the Tech Calendar.
**Message from Google: How much screen time is too much? Is it okay to share online? What should you do if you see something that worries you online? In partnership with Google, Internet Safety Experts is helping families start important conversations about online safety by asking them some simple questions. know more.**
‘Simple, Clear, Fair’ DSIT Secretary of State Michelle Donnellan made her first public speech yesterday after introducing the Information Bill to Parliament. She believes it will make data protection issues “simpler, clearer and fairer” for people and businesses to navigate. Donnellan also said the bill should restore public confidence in privacy. She spoke at the IAPP conference in Liverpool Street and we have the article here.
who are you? Speaking on a panel following Donnellan’s speech, privacy campaigner Max Schrems said the law was irrelevant to campaign groups like his in Europe because if they wanted to challenge a UK company, they would do so under EU law.
“Fine Line”; Elizabeth Denham, head of the ICO until 2021, told the same panel that the UK was walking a “very fine line” to ensure it did not upset the data sufficiency agreement with the EU, which would allow the flow of information. But she said she was doing something “practical” and “innovative” with the new bill. She said she would like to see the UK create data agreements with countries outside the EU, citing the Asia-Pacific region.
Getting out of the ball’s eye; During her five years as Information Commissioner, Denham said she was frustrated by the amount of time her staff spent on international information sharing at the expense of “real-life concerns” for the public, such as online fraud and child safety. She added that data controllers should focus more on new technologies such as AI.
Dankira Time: WPI Strategy launched the Tech Leaders Network at the Phoenix Party in Victoria on Wednesday night. Donnellan opened the event with WPI’s Nick Faith. She said her department wanted to “do things differently” to the rest of Whitehall by working closely with universities and the private sector.
Seen… At night: DSIT SpAd, Tom SkinnerDSIT comms director Abigail MorrisFormer DCMS Minister Matt WarmanThe father of the house Sir Peter BottomleyHead of Meta Policy, Chris EuTalk Talk’s Lucy Thomas-HarlSamsung Alain Johnson, Paul Morris Head of policy at Vodafone, Stripe Sam Hinton-Smith, Kulveer Ranger from Atos and head of public affairs at JP Morgan Richard Kay.
Munby’s busy week: On Wednesday, the night before the new data draft was tabled, DSIT Permanent Secretary Sarah Munby hosted the International Data Transfers Expert Council for drinks and discussion in the Churchill Room of the House of Commons. Munbi has set up a DSIT investment committee headed by her to scrutinize how public funds are spent.
Chip fight Beijing has filed a diplomatic protest against the Netherlands’ ban on exporting microchip technology to China, Politico’s Stuart Lau reports.
US-India Relations: The US is forging stronger ties with India as it tries to shift semiconductor supply chains away from China, Politico’s Steven Overly reports.
Defending Elon Musk: House Republicans have been shielded by the Federal Trade Commission’s investigation of the Twitter boss into the company’s security practices.
Will Cachart has a message for UK lawyers: The online security bill is rubbish. Well, maybe he’ll put it mildly as he happily broadcasts it across Westminster. But in a conversation with reporters in London yesterday, the head of WhatsApp did not hesitate to say how bad the UK’s online content laws are. In particular, in this article, Ofcom took aim at ambiguous provisions that could (and might) compel WhatsApp Friends to forward encrypted messages from its users.
When he asked the morning tech If he was most concerned about the Online Security Bill – compared to all Western laws – the answer was a resounding “yes”. The lack of clarity about the ability to create so-called back doors to encrypted services, coupled with the UK’s long-standing efforts to achieve seamless connectivity, has Cathcart wary of what precedent London is setting for others to follow. . “If a country like the United Kingdom pushes for that[weak encryption]on the Internet, that will shape what other countries around the world are asking for on different topics,” he said.
Of course, this is a lobbying game. Cathcart is in London to push lawmakers to reconsider provisions in the law that would (and likely will) allow regulators to search encrypted content — in the name of fighting terrorism or child sexual abuse. “Basically, it’s to be very clear that end-to-end encryption cannot be removed,” he said of his goals.
Cathcart filed a claim The UK government may seek to block WhatsApp as authorities seek to access content through the Online Safety Bill. When he was pressed, he said that in his discussions in London, no one considered him to be a danger. Still, he couldn’t get away from how encryption issues were left out of the political debate surrounding the law. “I don’t think the aspect of encryption gets that much attention and I want to make sure that’s real and clear so people know about it.”
Government on WhatsApp Given the outcry surrounding Matt Hancock’s leaked WhatsApp messages, what prompted the service chief to conduct government work through the messenger? “We see around the world, members of government using government business to communicate with each other,” Cathcart said. That’s one reason I think we have an obligation to keep it as safe as possible.
Login: The Ada Lovelace Institute has appointed Francine Bennett as interim director to cover Carly Kind’s maternity leave. Bennett is a founding member of the research institute’s board and previously worked at the biotech company Helix.
follow up Marie Wick joins. Meta Supervisory Board as new Trustee. Wick was a senior executive at IBM and is in the Women in Technology Hall of Fame.
Entrepreneurs: DSIT’s ‘Big Tech Unit’ is looking for a Policy Advisor with a salary of up to £39,587. Send your CV by March 27.
Actual Payment: Meta has a pay gap problem in Ireland and the UK, Insider reported
More chips Chinese AI groups are using cloud services to circumvent US chip export controls, the FT reports.
Morning Tech UK wouldn’t happen without Oscar Williams, Emma Anderson and Grace Struger.
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