As we move into Spring, PICTFOR would like to thank all of our industry members, parliamentary Vice-Chairs, and Co-Chairs for your support throughout the Winter.
We are thrilled to announce that Dame Caroline Dinenage DBE MP has been elected as PICTFOR Co-Chair, alongside Darren Jones MP. As a former Minister for Digital and Culture at DCMS with responsibility for the Online Safety Bill, Caroline brings huge expertise and experience to the Group.
We would also like to welcome our new Vice-Chairs: Baroness Harding of Winscombe, Lord Knight of Weymouth, and Lord Wei of Shoreditch; as well as our new members: Bumble, Katherine Church, TLT Solicitors, First Person Policy, Minderoo Centre for Democracy and Technology, Arqit Quantum, Fujitsu, Internet Watch Foundation, Three UK, ICANN, The Data Lab, FAST, and The App Association.
With the range of legislation scheduled to be published in the coming year, PICTFOR’s role as a forum for discussion between Parliamentarians, industry, academics, and other stakeholders on strategic issues facing the tech sector remains as crucial as ever, and we are grateful for your continued interest and support.
As one of the largest and most active APPGs, PICTFOR is finding innovative ways to continue providing a forum for the internet, communications and technology sectors and interested parliamentarians to communicate on pressing topics.
We will be keeping you updated on our activities in regular newsletters to further promote and engage with the tech sector as the country grapples with its economic challenges and a general election looms.
We are also to announce that we will be holding our 5th Annual Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Rally on the 3rd of May in the House of Commons. PICTFOR has a proud history of advocating for greater diversity and inclusion in the sector and we would be delighted for our members to join us to celebrate the diversity of our industry.
The tech sector in the UK has long been a leader in championing diversity, but we have a long way to go until we see equal representation in our industry. With an increased focus on digital skills and a reliance on the tech sector to drive economic growth, it is vital that we equip people from all backgrounds with the necessary skills for a career in tech.
Also in May, we will hold a virtual event discussing wireless infrastructure and the 6G revolution. Wireless infrastructure and mobile networks have become critical national infrastructure due to the vital public service applications they underpin. From remote surgical procedures to autonomous private and public transport vehicles, wireless infrastructure affects us all.
The discussion will cover topics and questions ranging from how the Government can support homegrown 6G technology, to how we can embed sustainability into the next generation of wireless infrastructure. We will discuss whether current government investment in R&D (Research & Development) allows the UK to compete internationally.
We have recently finalised our programme of events for the year, and you can find the full breakdown here. If any members are interested in getting involved in any of our upcoming events, please contact us at email@example.com
On Wednesday 8 March, PICTFOR hosted our first event of the year. We were delighted to be joined by parliamentarians and industry members to discuss how the UK can expand digital capabilities to ensure that it becomes a quantum technology leader in the coming decade. PICTFOR would like to thank our event Chair and PICTFOR Co-Chair Darren Jones MP.
The roundtable featured insights from Professor Myungshik Kim, Chair of Theoretical Quantum Information Sciences at Imperial College London, BT’s Principal of Scientific Affairs, Jonathan Legh Smith, and the Chair of Condensed Matter Physics at UCL, Professor Andrew Green.
If you wish to catch up on the event, you can view a full recording and minutes here.
Good Things Foundation
- To combat the growing digital divide and limit electronic waste, the Good Things Foundation are introducing an initiative called the Global Device Bank. This bank will take in devices which would otherwise go to waste, refurbish them, and then distribute them to disadvantaged communities with poor internet access. You can enquire about donating devices here.
London Cyber Resilience Advisory Group
- Following the publication of the UK’s Cybersecurity Strategy, LCRAG’s Convenor Philip Virgo has analysed how to build the skills needed to implement the strategy. The resulting strategy proposal involves building a coalition of careers organisations working in partnerships to provide cybersecurity training and education. You can read the full article here.
Lord Harris of Haringey
- Lord Harris has kindly written an opinion piece on the UK’s reliance on software, following a roundtable led by the National Preparedness Commission in conjunction with the IT Leaders Forum (ITLF) of the BCS. The piece warns of the risks baked in the UK’s system as a result of our reliance on haphazardly structured software and lays out some key actions needed to reduce our vulnerability. Read the full article here.
Minderoo Centre for Technology and Democracy
- Researchers at the Minderoo Centre for Technology and Democracy, University of Cambridge, have released a report testing “minimum ethical and legal standards” for the governance of facial recognition technology on three British police deployments. All three failed. Read the full report here.
- Starship Technologies were pleased to be called to give oral evidence to the Transport Select Committee for their inquiry into self-driving vehicles. Director of Public Affairs, Lisa Johnson, gave evidence alongside Dr Siddartha Khastgir, Head of Verification and Validation for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles at Warwick Manufacturing Group; and Peter Stephens, Policy and External Affairs Director at Stagecoach. The session covered a range of issues, including safety, social acceptance and regulation. You can see the full session here.
Parliamentary and Governmental activity
- In the Spring Budget, the Chancellor committed £1 billion to support supercomputing and AI and £2.5 billion to bolster the new Quantum Strategy.
- The Government published its National Quantum Strategy on 15th March. The strategy details a 10-year vision and actions for the UK to be a leading quantum-enabled economy. Read the full strategy here.
- The Science and Technology Committee launched an inquiry into commercialising quantum technologies on 15th March. Learn more about the inquiry’s aims here.
- The Department for Science, Innovation, and Technology published its International Technology Strategy on 22nd March. The strategy set out a plan for the UK to prioritise and make the best use of new technologies, face external threats, and boost UK influence worldwide. Read the full strategy here.
- On the 24th March, the Science and Technology Committee published its report on Diversity and Inclusion in STEM. The report called on the nascent Department for Science, Innovation, and Technology to act to live up to currently unrealised inclusion ambitions. Read the full report here.
- On the 29th March, The Department for Science, Innovation, and Technology published its AI regulation White Paper. The paper details its plans to create an agile, pro-innovation AI landscape founded on public trust. Read the full whitepaper here.
We are grateful to receive your contributions and encourage all PICTFOR members to keep us updated with upcoming research, reports, news or thought-leadership pieces to include in our regular newsletters. These are distributed to our industry members, Parliamentary Officers, MP’s and Peers,
The PICTFOR Secretariat