As technology advances, there is a clearer understanding that our future will depend increasingly on how data is used and interacts with other emerging technologies like AI. For companies, organisations, and individuals concerned with how data will be used both in the UK and globally, now is a key moment to get involved in active conversations about what the future could look like.

Recently, multiple opportunities have opened up for engagement around the UK’s strategy for data and artificial intelligence. The government has clearly recognised the need to further develop these emerging areas of importance and are actively seeking viewpoints and industry collaboration – meaning now is a key moment in time for UK data policy.

The UK Government has published their response to last year’s consultation on the data strategy.

Over the next year, they will continue with an iterative approach through engagement with relevant organisations, companies and individuals through the National Data Strategy Forum. In practice, the Forum will be a series of stakeholder discussions with the ambition to make data use in the UK the best it can be.

Delving into further specifics around data use, the Smart Data Working Group has published their latest report. Comprised of multiple government departments as well as regulators, they are looking for feedback on their plans to promote the use of data cross-sector and encourage collaboration. Future plans include establishing a cross-sector Smart Data Council and a Board.

Last week, a special task force commissioned by the prime minister and comprised of three senior Conservative MPs issued recommendations to reform data protection rules. Now that the UK is outside of the EU, divergence from GDPR is possible through a data adequacy agreement will need to be in place for data transfers.

Meanwhile, the AI Council, working in partnership with The Alan Turing Institute, is inviting all interested individuals and organisations to take part in a survey about the opportunities and challenges for AI policy, to further inform the development of the National AI Strategy.

Government is very much in listening mode and the Covid lockdown, and the scale of the economic response that is required has meant that the impact that data and AI is having on all aspects of society is accelerating. Taking time to make sure that your ideas are delivered to the right people, and crucially, at the right time, has never been important. Watch this space for advice and support about how to navigate the tech policy environment in the months ahead.