26 September 2023

Uni urges regulators to improve technology

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The Commonwealth is being called on to develop a new model to drive better technology regulation by the Australian National University (ANU).

Vice-Chancellor of ANU, Brian Schmidt said the university’s report Tending the Tech-Ecosystem was informed by interviews with 32 heads and senior representatives of Australian regulators, the Australian Government, industry and civil society, as well as a comparative study of 14 jurisdictions internationally.

“The Report comes as Governments the world over are stepping in to regulate technology, including measures to protect children online, address the proliferation of mis/disinformation, foster competition, drive innovation and strengthen cyber security,” Professor Schmidt said.

Tending the Tech-Ecosystem considers who is best placed to implement and oversee this new era of tech regulation, as well as the attributes of an effective tech regulator, and regulatory models that would best support a flourishing tech-ecosystem in Australia.”

He said the pervasiveness of digital technologies, combined with recently developed tech policy and regulatory mechanisms, were producing lacklustre regulatory outcomes in Australia.

“It is a pattern that is repeated globally,” Professor Schmidt said.

“If we get tech regulation right, we will get better technology for humanity; and that’s a win for everyone.”

Director of the Tech Policy Design Centre at ANU and lead report author, Johanna Weaver said it proposed a Tech Policy and Regulation Coordination model, which included a specialist cabinet committee as well as an expert advisory panel.

“The model proposed in the report responds to calls for political leadership, strengthened coordination, increased transparency, access to independent technical expertise, and regularised, meaningful input by industry and civil society,” Associate Professor Weaver said.

“I commend the report to any incoming government serious about positioning Australia to get the most out of technology, while proactively addressing harms associated with our increased dependence on it,” she said.

The university’s 85-page Report can be accessed at this PS News link.

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