Saturday, 29 February 2020

UK govt’s upcoming ‘Regulatory Horizons Council’ to be headed by BT exec

by Harry Baldock, Total Telecom
Monday 27 January 20

The newly created regulatory body will advise the government on AI and tech regulation

Tech is advancing at a blistering pace, so much so that government regulators are at risk of being left in the dust.    In an effort to stay on top of booming tech innovation, last June the UK government announced the creation of the &lsquo…

Tech is advancing at a blistering pace, so much so that government regulators are at risk of being left in the dust. 
 
In an effort to stay on top of booming tech innovation, last June the UK government announced the creation of the ‘Regulatory Horizons Council’ (RHC). 
 
The body’s goal is to ensure that the UK’s regulatory system “maintains its pioneering reputation, keeping pace with cutting-edge technology – from personalised AI medicine to smart ships that can navigate the seas autonomously,” according to then-business secretary Greg Clark.
 
Now, Sky News is reporting that BT’s Cathryn Ross has been assigned to lead this newly formed regulatory group.
 
Ross, previously the chief executive of water regulator Ofwat, is currently BT’s group director of regulatory affairs – a position she will reportedly retain during her tenure as chair of the RHC.
 
Given BT’s vested interest in the advancement of various technological developments, Ross’s dual role raises significant questions about potential conflicts of interest. 
 
Exactly how such a conflict will be resolved is unclear, but a spokesperson for the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, was keen to allay such fears. 
 
“As with all such appointments, there are strict codes in place to prevent conflicts of interest,” said the spokesperson.
 
The government is reportedly also seeking to create an additional regulatory body for big tech companies, like Facebook and Google. If this were to be created, it would remain separate from the RHC.
 
 
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