New body would regulate technology and ensure digital benefits are shared fairly.
Doteveryone, “the responsible technology think tank” founded by Martha Lane Fox, has published a report with the results of research it carried out on attitudes to technology in the early stages of the covid-19 pandemic. It originally carried out research in 2018 and says that since then, the tech space has changed with revelations like the Cambridge Analytica scandal, but also it has become more commonplace to use wearable tech or voice assistants and biometric technology such as fingerprint and facial recognition technology is more common. The pandemic has led to an even greater reliance on technology.
The findings of the report were:
The report recommends the creation of an independent body, the Office for Responsible Technology, to lead a concerted, coordinated and urgent effort to create a regulatory landscape fit for the digital age and ensure the benefits of technology are evenly shared in a post-pandemic world.
It recommends all tech companies implement trustworthy, transparent design patterns that show how services work and give people meaningful control over how they operate. The CMA, in coordination with the ICO, should set and enforce best practice for understandability, transparency and meaningful choice for the platforms where people spend most of their time online.
It recommends that the UK government should base its forthcoming media literacy strategy around new models of public empowerment for the digital age that:
Another recommendation is that all tech companies create accessible and straightforward ways for people to report concerns and provide clear information about the actions they take as a result. Ait also recommends that the incoming online harms regulator provide robust oversight of companies’ complaints processes founded on seven principles of better redress in the digital age:
Finally the report recommends that digitally-capable super complainants should be empowered to demand collective redress from technology-driven harms on the public’s behalf and to channel unresolved disputes between individuals and companies. The government should support coordination for civil society organisations helping people to address the effects of technology-driven harms on their lives.