An Emerging Tech Charter for London
A plan to guide emerging tech innovations deployed the capital has been unveiled today by the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan.
Sadiq is tasking the Smart London Board, Chaired by London’s Chief Digital Officer, to talk to citizens and innovators and develop a set of criteria that innovations should meet if they are deployed in the capital, delivered through an Emerging Technologies Charter for London.
New technologies being developed by London’s world-leading tech sector have the potential to make a positive impact for all who live, work and study in the capital — and I want London to be a test-bed for innovation.
But even the most dynamic cities need a framework to steer the emergence of new tools and applications which affect our open spaces, transport systems and public services.
So it’s vital Londoners and public bodies understand the full impact of any new technology launched in the capital — and that innovations are designed with the public’s needs firmly in mind. My Emerging Technology Charter aims to do just that.”
Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London
Making the most of London’s Advanced Tech Stack
A report released this week by Digital Catapult identifies a new and emerging ‘advanced digital technology stack’ that will enable exciting and transformational change to businesses and drive economic growth across London. These technologies will drive everything from autonomous vehicles, smarter deliveries, to AI powered wearable technology.
The Mayor believes it is vital for cities to understand how to develop and adopt emerging technologies to maximise their benefits, while also minimising any negative impacts on life and work.
As London becomes a more ‘sensor-rich city’ and adopts further smart city technology solutions, it requires a way of setting expectations around design, security, privacy and ways of working so that innovators can develop and deploy the right solutions in the capital.
The Charter will, for the first time, structure and inform public discussion in this area. It will seek to ensure Londoners are engaged and listened to in the process of developing new technologies, so their concerns and the likely effects these innovations will have on their lives are fully understood.
Shaping the Charter will also involve talking to innovators about their experiences pitching tech to city authorities, to deepen our understanding of their respective challenges and needs.
Scope of Charter
Areas we are expecting the Charter to cover include:
Ways of working — We want to ensure that trialling new technologies is conducted openly and responsibly, improving transparency to public authorities and the public and actively engaging with the public, authorities and other relevant bodies when planning trials.
Data — We’ll make recommendations on the collection, use, and sharing of data collected by emerging technologies via city data platforms such as at TfL or City Hall’s London Datastore, the city’s central register for open and closed data, so data can be used for shared purposes such as climate change adaptation or resilience planning.
Design — Promoting the best in design-thinking and ensuring voices of all Londoners are heard when these new technologies are developed and deployed. Digital inclusion and accessibility must be evidenced as a core part of the design of the tech and deployment.
Privacy & security — Promoting privacy-by-design to ensure emerging technologies live the spirit, not just the letter of data protection laws in our city, & meeting relevant cyber-security standards.
How the Charter will be developed
We’ll start by undertaking a full discovery exercise, bringing our experience together in one place, deriving principles from where we have considered emerging technologies in specific instances.
London already has a strong track-record discussing how data and technology should be developed:
- Adopting the Local Digital Declaration to design digital services around citizen need.
- The Smarter London Together Roadmap was developed in 2018 following a wide Listening Tour with London’s tech community and the public.
- Transport for London’s guidance on the trialling of connected autonomous vehicles, the piloting and then adoption of collection of anonymous Wifi data on the Tube.
- London Policing Ethics Panel report on the use of Live Facial Recognition Technology.
- Sharing Cities Playbooks — practical guidance from knowledge gained implementing smart solutions in London, Lisbon and Milan.
- City Hall and the London Office of Technology & Innovation work on AI ethics in city services.
We’ll also draw upon work undertaken by other major cities, notably San Francisco’s Emerging Technology Board; Boston’s Smart Cities Playbook; Helsinki’s MyData initiatives; and the work of the Cities for Digital Rights Coalition set up to remove barriers to harnessing technological opportunities that improve the lives of citizens.
The Charter will be developed iteratively and in the open, and will be launched at the end of the year following public and expert design and engagement.
Talking to Londoners
We want to know what your concerns are and the impact these technologies may have on your lives, so we can develop a broad set of principles that both harnesses the great innovation on our doorstep and ensures protection of privacy and digital rights.
In setting out the city’s expectations we will talk to Londoners through our Talk London platform, as well as seeking the views of innovators and their expectations of the development and deployment of new technologies. If you would like to contribute to the discussion, sign up now to be part of Talk London and be first in line to have your say, or email the Smart London team.