King's Speech: New UK legislative agenda includes DPDIB and IPA

07/11/2023 | UK Government

In a statement released by the Prime Minister's Office on Saturday, November 4th, the UK government has outlined a legislative agenda for the final parliamentary session before the election. The details of this agenda will be revealed on Tuesday in the King's Speech, which will be the first one in 70 years. 

The speech will primarily focus on measures to create a competitive and supportive environment for businesses to take advantage of new technologies. 

UPDATE: 071123 

Among the relevant legislative proposals included in the speech (download full background & briefing notes) are the Data Protection and Digital Information (No.2) Bill, the Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill, and an amendment to the Investigatory Powers Act 2016. See the main link for the full transcript. In its report, The Guardian includes the full recording of the speech to watch. 

Despite Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's focus on artificial intelligence (AI), there were no legislative commitments in the speech. Just a commitment that the "United Kingdom will continue to lead international discussions to ensure that Artificial Intelligence is developed safely." 

The Guardian reports that Greg Clark, chairman of the Science, Innovation and Technology Committee, said that it was "disappointing" there was not an AI bill. 

Meanwhile, according to ResearchLive, Michael Birtwistle, the Associate Director at the Ada Lovelace Institute, expressed concerns that the UK's lack of AI governance legislation could lead to the country falling behind other nations, including the US and EU. While highlighting the importance of the recent AI Safety Summit and the Bletchley Declaration, he believes that the UK needs to do more to ensure adequate protections for citizens. Birtwistle argues that legislation is crucial to empower regulators and provide adequate routes to redress issues related to AI. He also believes that existing data protection laws covering the use of A are not enough and need to be strengthened. The Data Protection and Digital Information Bill (DPDI Bill) is currently the sole legislative vehicle for regulating AI in the UK, as there are no new proposals in the King's Speech. Birtwistle urges the UK government to consider the commitments in the Bletchley Declaration and the white paper on AI regulation when re-evaluating the DPDI Bill.

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