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Innovation Will be Limited if the Future of Tech isn’t Fair

Access Partnership, the leading global public policy firm for the tech sector, today launched an industry-wide report Defining a Path to Fair Tech, laying out a fairness framework to help the international community share the benefits of technology on terms that are fair and which boost innovation worldwide.

The report demonstrates that, despite the digital divide and its effect on the global economy being a widely recognised issue, responsibility for bridging it lies as much with governments as with their citizens and the many technology companies that consumers engage with.

Gregory Francis, Access Partnership’s Managing Director, commented, “The technology sector is not trusted, and it is being challenged and regulated across the world in every jurisdiction. While every company wants a ‘fair’ playing field, fair terms of trade, and for consumers to have a fair shot at using their offering to their best advantage, how this translates through to policy and trends can differ vastly from region to region. Further to this, it can rely heavily on local access to infrastructure and deeply held cultural values – widening global discrepancies in attitudes towards technology and the policies that govern it.”

Using insight from Access Partnership’s worldwide leadership teams and peers in government, civil society and industry, the report explores how these multi-faceted challenges can be solved to achieve fair tech, and the key stakeholders involved in making this happen. From the idea of the US and Europe finding common ground to push on with a common Trans-Atlantic approach to data policy and trust, to the importance of infrastructure, and how digital tax could be the key to creating an ecosystem within which technological innovation can flourish.
The dominant theme is the need for governments and technology companies to work together, with no single party holding all the answers. These frameworks must also be developed with the promising future of developing countries in mind, as it is in the interest of the tech sector to promote sound and strong, but not stringent, regulatory frameworks in these places to encourage innovation and entrepreneurialism.

“A multilateral move towards fair tech will be crucial in ensuring that the international community offers guidance to those countries currently lacking the infrastructure and access to the technology to manage the current pandemic,” added Francis. “Real fairness needs constructing across a number of sturdy plinths described by how accessible technology is made, how easy it is to obtain and manipulate, and how unbiased its applications are. Whether a company provides hardware or AI services, the terms on which that is done in every market need to be lasting.”

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