Baroness Nicky Morgan has said that the government will be ‘unashamedly pro-tech’ at the launch of the Tech Talent Charter report ‘Diversity in Tech’ last week.
The DCMS Secretary of State outlined five principles to make tech work for everyone, and discussed how the government will promote ‘responsible innovation’ through regulation and investment.
The report surveyed over 700,000 employees of over 300 companies, and discovered that women made up only 16% of the tech workforce in the UK. Fittingly, Morgan emphasised the importance of increased diversity in the sector if we are to encourage the diversity of thought necessary to drive cutting edge innovation and ensure tech works to benefit all of society.
The five principles set out were:
The government must support and sustain the growth of the technology sector, as it is central to the future of the UK economy. Technology, if developed responsibly, can be used to transform public services and the relationship between citizens and their government. It can also be used for considerable social good. Morgan declared that technology would be at the heart of UK trade policy going forwards.
We can only view the digital revolution as a success if it is used to break down barriers rather than entrench them further. We need to ensure all areas of society have the tools they need to benefit from digital technology, and allow it to be an engine of social mobility. Connectivity for rural areas must be prioritised, digital skills must be encouraged, and the tech sector must commit to diversity of thought.
It is now known that tech is not the utopia it was once thought to be. Government must commit to developing regulation that puts consumers in control of their lives online, as well as ensuring companies are responsible for the implications of their actions. Successful regulation will give confidence and trust to investors and consumers of technology, and that will give a competitive advantage.
Adults and children must be able to enjoy the internet in safety and security, and businesses and individuals must be protected from cyber crime.
The internet as a multi-stakeholder resource must be preserved, and human rights must be protected online.
The five principles championed by Morgan are all very interconnected, but show an increased appreciation for the benefits and challenges of digital technology.