Tech policy insights 2023: August updates
Welcome to the first edition of our Tech Round Up. This regular round up will feature developments from across the tech policy world that have caught our attention and we consider worth sharing. With so much happening in this landscape it can be hard to keep abreast of it all. We hope you find this update helpful in keeping you up to speed.
What we’ll cover:
- State of Play – focusing on a particular driver of the tech agenda in recent weeks.
- Policy Updates – there’s a lot going on, so in this section we want to flag some changes to the status quo that should be noted.
- What We’ve Been Reading – recent news and commentary articles that we’ve found interesting.
- Upcoming Events – a selection of upcoming interesting events
State of Play
With legislatures winding down for the summer, it’s a good time to take stock of what has been a busy year so far for tech policy across Europe and globally. Evolving artificial intelligence (AI) policy has been a particularly fascinating example of global policy makers trying to keep pace with technological and societal changes.
The European Union (EU) began the legislative ball rolling in April 2021 with the publication of its regulatory framework for AI. Other regulatory jurisdictions have been busy as well. According to the recently published Stanford University AI Index Report 2023, across 127 analysed countries, bills containing the phrase “artificial intelligence” grew to 37 in 2022, compared to just 1 in 2016.
In June the UK Government announced plans to host the first major global AI summit to examine how the world can mitigate some of the risks posed by AI. A preview of what may arise at the summit was given when UK Foreign Secretary, James Cleverly, chaired the first ever United Nations Security Council (UNSC) session on AI in July. The meeting raised the possibility of a new UN body to oversee international governance of AI, modelled on the International Atomic Energy Agency or Civil Aviation Organisation. One of the main differences at the UK’s summit later this year will be that neither Russia nor China will be invited – both permanent members of the UNSC.
Spanish Presidency presents AI Act negotiation options
The EU’s AI Act is in its final legislative stage, between the EU Council, Parliament, and the Commission. The Spanish Presidency is seeking confirmation of agreed parts and flexibility on political issues during the trilogue discussions and will host the first “AI sandbox” within the EU. The next trilogue discussions are scheduled for 26 September and 26 October, with a possible further round on 22 or 30 November.
UNESCO publishes AI guidelines
UNESCO has published guidelines advocating for the universal implementation of open data policies, emphasising their importance for AI advancements and effective epidemic responses.
Ireland Launches AI Standards Roadmap
The National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI) has launched Ireland’s own AI standards roadmap. This is a step towards the NSAI being designated as an AI notified body, a significant move in advance of the implementation of the EU’s AI Act
In other policy updates
European Commission adopts EU-US adequacy decision
The European Commission has officially adopted the adequacy decision for the EU-U.S. Data Privacy Framework, guaranteeing an equivalent level of protection for personal data transferred between the EU and the U.S., comparable to that provided within the EU. However, industry experts have predicted that the framework is likely to encounter a legal challenge by the European Court of Justice (CJEU).
UK amended Investigatory Powers Act consultation to close
A UK Home Office consultation covering the potential expansion of digital surveillance powers closed on July 31st. Proposed changes to the Act received a negative response from some tech companies who would be affected.
EDPS announces organisational restructuring
European Data Protection Supervisor Wojciech Wiewiórowski announced “organisational changes” in anticipation of upcoming data protection challenges. Changes include appointing Leonardo Cervera Navas as the regulator’s first Secretary-General with responsibility for offering strategic advice and overseeing EDPS activities. It is also expected that the EDPS will adopt a sector-specific approach and revamp the Technology and Privacy Unit to better address evolving needs.
No progress on the Artificial Intelligence Liability Directive (AILD)
Discussions on the AILD will be postponed until the new European Commission is appointed with policymakers focusing on completing the AI Act first.
What we’ve been reading
FT Weekend Festival – 2nd September, by the Financial Times in London and online
Welcome Back Networking Drinks – 20th September, by Digital Europe in Brussels
Gigabit Infrastructure Act: A Global Leadership Opportunity for the EU? – 20th September, by Euractiv online
Industries of the Future: Space – 20th September, by TechUK online
Big-Data.AI Summit – 20-21st September, by bitkom in Berlin
World Summit AI – 11-12th October, in Amsterdam
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