The Future Direction of the Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation

The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Data Analytics (APGDA) was delighted to host Roger Taylor, Chair of the Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation (CDEI) in Parliament on Wednesday 5th February, 2020.

The event was chaired by Daniel Zeichner MP, who highlighted the recommendations made by the APGDA regarding the future work of the Centre. In Trust, Transparency, Tech, the APGDA set out a vision for the Centre to work with Parliament to establish a ‘kite-mark’ for AI, as well as setting out clear guidelines for the ethical use of data by public and private bodies.

In his opening remarks, Roger Taylor concurred with many of the recommendations made by the Group’s report, highlighting the importance of the Centre being placed on statutory footing. Referring to his organisation as a ‘meta-regulator’.

Mr Taylor then reference the Centre’s first review into online targeting. The report sets out how the United Kingdom can realise the potential of online targeting, while minimising the risk. It sets out a number of recommendations for more transparency by big tech firms, as well as improved transparency into how technology is used.

Following Mr Taylor’s remarks, Daniel Zeichner opened an open discussion with the audience. Mr Zeichner questioned where the Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation would sit within Whitehall.

Responding, Mr Taylor noted that the Centre’s statutory would also give it the opportunity to inquire into various subjects. The Centre had a mandate set by government, Mr Taylor said, but that it would not be afraid to challenge them as appropriate.

Other discussions from the audience focused on challenge between the regulatory aspects of the Centre, and the mandate to push for innovative solutions.

Mr Taylor spoke about the Centre’s work in identifying regulatory gaps or oversights, such as within the financial services and for social media firms. He also said that the Centre had a need to redress the balance between a desire for innovation from industry, against the scepticism and fears of the public.

The event was the second in a series of events hosted by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Data Analytics looking into the effective use of data in public life. The Group will host a third event looking into the role of Parliament in spring 2020, followed by an appraisal of Trust, Transparency, Tech one year on from its publication.