Data Policy Digest

Gavin Freeguard

Gavin Freeguard

Hello, and welcome to our nineteenth Data Policy Digest.

Will it bring you all the latest data and AI policy developments in the midst of the General Election campaign?

You bet.

Before we go any further, two big online events to invite you to next Tuesday 25 June, courtesy of the Data and AI Civil Society Network:

If there’s something we’ve missed, something you’re up to that you’d like us to include next time or you have any thoughts on how useful the Digest is or could be, please get in touch via We’re on Twitter @ConnectedByData and @DataReform. You can also catch up on previous Digests.

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Data policy developments

Everything else

What we’ve been up to

What everyone else has been up to


Good reads

Never mind the ballots

If you’ve not already bookmarked it/made it your homepage/pledged to vote for it on 4 July, we’ve set up a Data and AI Civil Society Network Election Hub. We’ll be updating with resources throughout the campaign - and you can add to it, too! (And if you’d like to find out more about the network, visit our dedicated website.)

Manifesto destiny

After last week’s manifestogeddon, a slightly quieter week. Nonetheless…

Reform’s ‘Our contract with you’ came out on Monday. Something for the first 100 days would be to ‘Promote Child Friendly App Restricted Smartphones: Social media is associated with eating disorders, anxiety, depression, suicide and the child mental health crisis’ and ‘launch an inquiry into social media harms’. Thereafter, Reform would review the Online Safety Bill (sic): ‘Social media giants that push baseless transgender ideology and divisive Critical Race theory should have no role in regulating free speech’. Other key pledges include a** **‘A British Bill of Rights’, including ‘Our data and privacy must be protected. Surveillance of the public must be limited and those monitoring us held to account’… ‘More Bobbies on the Beat’, partly through using ‘better technology and stop wasting time on paperwork’… and ‘Reform UK also opposes the Creation of a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC). We oppose a cashless society’.

The SNP’s manifesto, A Future Made in Scotland, came out yesterday (Wednesday)… BUILDING A FAIRER, GREENER ECONOMY (p21) they promised to ‘Prioritise research and investment in Artificial Intelligence to capitalise on the technological revolution and ensure its full potential is maximised in supporting our public services in a way that is open, ethical and transparent… CREATING A JUST AND HEALTHIER SCOTLAND (p25) ‘Protect people, particularly children, by ensuring the Online Safety Act comes into force on time. SNP MPs will press the UK Government to ensure tech firms cannot escape their responsibilities for the content on their platforms through full enforcement of the Act and prompt strengthening of these laws when required.’ (They’re obviously more interested in running the Scottish Government - their 2021 manifesto for reference.)

Elsewhere… like Reform, George Galloway’s Worker’s Party oppose a cashless society - they are not ‘Luddites’ but want AI and other technologies to be under ‘sufficient community control to ensure positive social and economic outcomes for the working class and the vulnerable’ and ‘institute a national debate’ on AI to ensure this… in previous industrial revolutions ‘the wealthy capitalist has seized opportunities by forced savings on the general population and then justified terrible effects on working people as ultimate progress. We cannot let this happen again’… they would also invest in technical skills for all workers, and review ‘all legislation and regulation to define only what is strictly harmful speech’, making it a criminal offence ‘to deny a political organisation or individual a platform’…

In Northern Ireland, the **Alliance **notes the ‘enormous potential’ of AI and social media but ‘significant dangers’ if not properly regulated… AI should ‘be harnessed in a way that benefits society as a whole, whilst protecting human rights’… specific pledges include ‘a Digital Bill of Rights to protect everyone’s rights online’, to ‘Incorporate the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child into UK law’, ‘Set up an independent advocacy body for children’s safety online’ and ‘Build on the measures introduced through the Online Safety Act to introduce verification requirements for social media accounts.’

As for civil society manifestos… there’s the PLATFORM WORKERS MANIFESTO: 10 priorities to fix a broken gig economy from Worker Info Exchange… while Defend Digital Me take a look at manifesto education pledges in their latest newsletter.

And continued reaction to last week’s whatever-the-collective-noun-is (answers-by-email-please) of manifestos… Party Manifestos: What do they mean for the tech sector? (techUK)… UK election manifesto tech takeaways, a personal reflection on transforming digital services, and more (Global Government Forum)… What the general election manifestos mean for the voluntary sector (NCVO)… Labour Party manifesto: What’s in it for tech? (Computing)… Manifesto tech takeaways: Labour plans National Data Library and standardised police IT (Public Technology)… General election 2024: Labour promises to boost digital infrastructure (Computer Weekly)… Digging into the Labour Party’s election manifesto datacentre planning reform pledge (Computer Weekly)… CILIP response to the Labour Party Manifesto (CILIP)… Manifesto tech takeaways: Conservatives pledge to double Whitehall digital and AI expertise (Public Technology)… General election 2024: The Green Party promises Digital Bill of Rights (Computer Weekly)… and Digital transformation - the missing government mission? (Jerry Fishenden in Computer Weekly).

Labour movement

Britain’s AI ambitions threaten its green belt. They don’t have to (Politico)… Labour considers largest Whitehall shake-up in decades (FT)… is Labour ‘open-minded’ on crypto? h/t to Politico for spotting that in SiftedLabour party supports digital inclusion (Good Things Foundation).

News Tory

Away from the election, the Prime Minister attended the G7 in Italy. The final Communiqué includes closer cooperation on AI, something Sunak touched on in some remarks and in a UK government press release.

Everything else

A reminder of two events from the Data and AI Civil Society Network next Tuesday:

Other hustings… last night was the Science, Innovation and Technology hustings (from the Campaign for Science and Engineering, the Foundation for Science and Technology, the Academy of Medical Sciences, the British Academy, the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Royal Society) - as well as the video, there were tweets and a write-up from Wonkhe… while NCVO also held General Election 2024: Voluntary sector hustings.

Other bits and pieces… OPT-OUT OF POLITICAL PARTIES PROCESSING YOUR DATA (ORG)… if you want to know who the parties are trying to target with their ads, check out Who Targets MeAmerica’s election year battle over who polices online disinformation (FT)… Facing Fakes (Centre for Policy Studies)… Reform (the thinktank, not the party) have some data/digital/transparency bits in A manifesto for delivery: 14 ideas for a better WhitehallCapacity crunch: the biggest challenges facing the next government (Nesta/Sam Freedman)… Digital Bridge looks forward (if that is the right phrase) to the US elections (Politico)…

And… Bar chart wars: What to watch out for on leaflets telling you who can win your seat (BBC).

Data policy developments

AI got ‘rithm

No open letters this week so let’s start with OpenAI… OpenAI CEO says company could become for-profit corporation, The Information reports (Reuters)… Former head of NSA joins OpenAI board (The Verge)… OpenAI board members respond to a warning by former members (The Economist)… Gary Marcus responds to OpenAI board members responding to a warning by former members (The Economist)… Ilya Sutskever, formerly of OpenAI, is setting up a new company, Safe Superintelligence Inc (the FT, among others, has more)…

More on Silicon Valley/big tech… AI Images in Google Search Results Have Opened a Portal to Hell (404 Media)… How’s this for a bombshell – the US must make AI its next Manhattan Project (The Observer)… Apple’s AI Approach Is a Welcome Break From the Industry Arms Race (Vanity Fair)… “It’s the Wild West”: Why Silicon Valley’s AI Race Could Leave the Media in Tatters (Vanity Fair)… Microsoft Wanted to be Carbon Negative. Then It Went Big on AI (Bloomberg - a key takeaway)… Public sector workers could save four hours a week using AI, report finds (Microsoft)… Meta ‘pauses’ AI data collection in EU following Irish DPC request (Irish Independent)… The DPC’s Engagement with Meta on AI (Data Protection Commission)… Statement in response to Meta’s plans to train generative AI with user data (Information Commissioner’s Office)… Perplexity Is a Bullshit Machine (Wired)… Nvidia becomes world’s most valuable company (BBC)…

As for everything else… The EU’s #AI Act will be signed off on Thursday, but it will only be published in July due to a significant backlog (MLex)… How Much AI Regulation Is The Right Amount? (538)… AI Seoul Summit Stocktake: Reflections and Projections (Centre for Emerging Technology and Security at the Turing)… AI can’t fix what automation already broke (Brian Merchant)… Embedding the audience: Putting audiences at the heart of Generative AI (Ipsos, BBC)… The latest Civic AI Observatory newsletter looks at expectations and development of LLMs… Meet Nightshade—A Tool Empowering Artists to Fight Back Against AI (The Markup)… TOWARDS ROBUST TRAINING DATA TRANSPARENCY (Open Future)…

And… Photographer takes on the machines in AI competition – and wins (The Guardian)… McDonald’s ends AI drive-thru trial after order mishaps (Sky News).

Everything else

DSIT up and take notice Government rolls out real-time big-data tool to ‘map global supply chains and proactively mitigate risks’ (Public Technology)… UK education department awards contract uplift to Horizon scandal-plagued Fujitsu (The Register)… GOV.UK rolls out Google AI-powered semantic search (Public Technology)…

Bills, bills, bills Online Safety, naturally… I’m an expert on adolescence: here’s why a smartphone ban isn’t the answer, and what we should do instead (The Guardian)… Heather Burns notes some Ofcom comments on age verification

Parly-vous data? Parliament will meet after the election on 9 July, when MPs will be sworn in and the speaker elected. The state opening and King’s Speech - which will outline the government’s legislative agenda - will take place on 17 July.

In brief

What we’ve been up to

What everyone else has been up to


Good reads

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