DPA Submission for the UK Digital Strategy

Submission from Digital Policy Alliance for the UK Digital Strategy
19 January 2016

The Digital Policy Alliance (EURIM) is the politically neutral, cross-party policy voice of the internet and technology sector, informing policy for a competitive, inclusive, networked society. DPA welcomes the Government's work towards the Digital Strategy, and the Digital Communications Infrastructure Strategy to review the UK's needs in this area. After discussion with members following the invitation to send thoughts to inform the Digital Strategy for the UK, DPA would like to submit the following suggestions.

*Mandate ducting for fibre for renovations and new build properties, and remove business rates from fibre and communications infrastructure. This will support the broadband rollout, encourage the adoption of digital technology, and comes at negligible cost to Government.

*Encourage better representation of UK providers of cloud based and infrastructure services in Tech City and other areas. The General Data Protection Regulation is causing a conflict between what systems should be used in relation to Safe Harbor requirements for personal data, and what is available relating to cloud infrastructure. These requirements mean organisations are restricted in their ability to put personal data outside Europe, but UK cloud service providers are under-represented in Tech City.

Any support from Innovate UK and others to small and medium sized enterprises should focus on improving use of UK providers throughout the supply chain, to further support growth of this sector, for example in hardware prototyping which can in turn support high-value manufacturing.

*Prioritise work towards building trust in technology developing Internet of Things, for example by finding a technical solution for the separation of personal and impersonal, anonymous, bulk data. Aggregated, anonymised, depersonalised data can be of use for management of crowds and traffic for public safety, for reducing energy consumption, and many other purposes.

There is a risk however that this technology does not develop because a lack of public trust reduces the availability of data, for example by people choosing not to activate location enabled devices. Those using such data are not interested in the identities, but there are major challenges in getting this useful information without perceptions of breaching privacy boundaries. If there is concern over risks relating to the collection of such data, work to identify these so they can be mitigated or overcome should be undertaken.

Work to improve availability of data may also focus on how Government can make more of its data available, and what business sectors can do to make more productive use of data. An interoperable and secure network protocol for smart devices that could be used by app developers would give the UK a competitive advantage and would greatly assist the development of the Internet of Things sector, but improved public awareness is also needed to support innovation and new applications.

Digital Policy Alliance (EURIM)