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UK public wants tougher regulation of tech sector, report finds

11 May, 2020

While lockdown has strengthened our relationship with technology, more than half of the UK public want tougher regulation of the tech sector, a new report has revealed.

Figures from the People, Power and Technology 2020 report, published by tech think tank Doteveryone, indicate that 81 per cent of the population believe tech has made their own life easier and 58 per cent feel technology has had a positive impact on society.

Despite this, more than half of the people surveyed expect technology to affect society in a negative way in the future, with 58 per cent feeling that the tech sector is under-regulated.

“Technology is a tool that can open new opportunities, that can enrich our lives and enable us to achieve new possibilities. But it can only do that if it’s built and used in ways that are respectful of our values and expectations,” said Martha Lane Fox, executive chair and founder of Doteveryone.

“This research shows that all too often that’s not happening. The public feels change is happening to them, not with them or for them.”

Most participants identified the government (53 per cent) and independent regulators (48 per cent) as the bodies which need to hold tech companies to account, and expressed that the companies themselves need to make a better effort in supporting their users.

Over a quarter of the population (26 per cent) said they have had no support from tech companies after reporting a safety concern and over half (53 per cent) said more straightforward reporting mechanisms are needed.

Lane Fox said: “At this critical moment, I urge decision makers in government, industry and civil society to listen carefully to how people understand and view the technology that shapes their day-to-day lives and what they want from it.

“The response to the pandemic is supercharging the speed of technological change. This change must be driven by the interests of people, communities and planet – not just the profit margins of the tech companies.”

Doteveryone has called on the government to establish a new, independent body to “create a regulatory landscape fit for the digital age” and ensure that people can enjoy the benefits of technology.

It also urged tech companies to implement more transparent design across their services so that people can have a more “meaningful control over how they operate”.


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