Technology played a somewhat surprisingly large role in the recent Queen’s Speech, in which she covered everything from digital privacy to developments within the space industry.
As is custom at the state opening of parliament, the Queen gave a speech (drafted by the government) to outline policies and a proposed legislative programme for the upcoming term. Whilst Brexit was the primary theme, there was a large amount dedicated to technology.
On the subject of data protection, the speech proposed that the Data Protection Act 1998 should be “suitable for the digital age”. One such way of doing this is to permit social media account holders to request the likes of Facebook and Twitter delete any posts they made whilst they were under the age of 18. Another example would be to strengthen and broaden the existing ‘right to be forgotten’ – where individuals could request old, outdated information about them be excised from places such as the search engine results.
Implementing such rules would, the speech claimed, ensure the UK maintained its “world-class” data protection regime.
Elsewhere, the Queen’s Speech considered the UK’s space industry, and what could be done to improve it. This isn’t about sending people to Mars, however, but instead developing the country’s engineering and science skills to boost its commercial prospects. With more jobs and training in these fields, the UK could become a much more attractive place from which to launch satellites, which can then be used for improved connectivity and observation.
Neil Fraser, Head of Space and Comms at ViaSat, told information-age.com: “Fibre and 4G/5G cannot affordably meet all the needs of the UK’s population at home or when mobile. Satellite broadband has a role to play in meeting these needs.
“Resilient and available broadband is also a key enabler of enterprise and growth (fundamental to the economy) and in supporting national resilience and security agendas.”
Technology experts have welcomed this most recent Queen’s Speech, claiming it recognises – even at a time when Brexit will be at the forefront of people’s minds – the importance of technology to the UK’s economic future.