New government elected – what is next in the world of tech and digital regulation?

July 5, 2024

So, we have a new Labour government.  What could lie in store in the realm of digital and tech regulation?  We deep dive into their manifesto to find out.

Labour Digital is the home of digital and technology policy for Labour Party members and supporters. It says that [they] “seek to understand the potential of technology for our country, to promote using it in our economy and our public services and to advocate regulating its use to protect citizens from unethical use.”

With this in mind, the Labour manifesto for the 2024 election includes the following commitments on the tech and digital side:

  • Labour will make a renewed push to fulfil the ambition of full gigabit and national 5G coverage by 2030.
  • It aims to ensure that its industrial strategy supports the development of the AI sector and wants to removes planning barriers to new datacentres.
  • It also wants to create a National Data Library to bring together existing research programmes and help deliver data-driven public services, whilst maintaining strong safeguards and ensuring all the public benefit.
  • It will create a new Regulatory Innovation Office, bringing together existing functions across government. This office will be aimed at helping regulators update regulation, speeding up approval timelines, and co-ordinating issues that span existing boundaries. It also wants to ensure the safe development and use of AI models by introducing binding regulation on the handful of companies developing the most powerful AI models.
  • It plans to ban the creation of sexually explicit deepfakes.
  • Labour will work with technology companies to stop their platforms being exploited by fraudsters and it plans to build on the Online Safety Act, bringing forward provisions as quickly as possible, and explore further measures to keep everyone safe online, particularly when using social media. Labour will also give coroners more powers to access information held by technology companies after a child’s death.

More generally, the manifesto says that Labour will ensure a pro-business environment, with a competition and regulatory framework, that supports innovation, investment, and high-quality jobs.

Perhaps we can come back this article in a year’s time and see what progress they’ve made.