The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Inclusive Technology is a cross party grouping in the UK Houses of Parliament which analyses how technology affects marginalised communities and advocates for inclusive policy reforms. WebRoots Democracy is the Secretariat and supports the APPG’s activities.
Technological change is leading to unprecedented transformation and has created new benefits and challenges for society. Advances in technology have led to significant positive change in society. Technological progress has generated high growth, improved quality of life and crucially enabled people to connect, organise, strategise, and advocate.
However, there remains a considerable digital divide in society, with uneven distribution in digital access and the benefits of technological progress lacking in marginalised communities. There are also increased concerns about the possible adverse consequences of such advances including safety, ethics, privacy, transparency, and accountability in the development of technologies. In particular, some new technologies are currently being used in manners that present problems from a practical and fundamental rights perspective for disadvantaged and marginalised communities. This can further exacerbate disparities that already exist in society and could further increase inequities for disadvantaged and marginalised communities.
It is important, therefore, for technological progress to be complemented by sound public policy-making focusing on adequate strategies and policies to mitigate negative impacts. It is critical that progress is for everyone and is equitable. Accessibility, inclusion, accountability, transparency, and avoiding unintended consequences should underpin technological progress.
The COVID-19 Contact Tracing App: Considering the risks around exclusion, literacy, and inequality
Our APPG has launched during the global pandemic of COVID-19 and at a time where many are taking a renewed look at inequality in society. This inequality has, itself, been highlighted during the course of the pandemic with some groups in society suffering worse than others. In light of this, our first report will be focused on the inequality challenges facing the UK Government’s COVID-19 contact tracing app.
The report will identify key questions for the Government and NHSX as well as providing a number of policy recommendations. It will be published in the coming weeks.