14th May 2018

Professor Luciano Floridi to chair board advising UK Parliamentary Commission on Technology Ethics


Exeter College Professorial Fellow Luciano Floridi has been appointed chair of the advisory board for the UK’s new Parliamentary Commission on Technology Ethics.

The Parliamentary Commission on Technology Ethics was established by Darren Jones MP (Labour) and Lee Rowley MP (Conservative) and will work closely with Professor Floridi, Professor of Philosophy and Ethics of Information at the Oxford Internet Institute, and other members of the advisory board.

The Commission was created in the wake of events such as the Facebook–Cambridge Analytica scandal which, Mr Jones says, have ‘shone a light onto a quickly developing and powerful marketplace: a wild west with no property ownership, and a lack of regulated boundaries.’

Mr Jones has been outspoken about his concerns that regulators and legislators are failing to keep pace with the rate of technological development and that, for example, people’s right to privacy may not be being properly protected or people may be struggling to see how their digital data are being used through the fog of companies’ legal terms and conditions. Public input and regulation is needed, he says, ‘but for that to be done properly, our institutions, our legislators and the public need to understand what the hell is going on, and how it all works.’

Mr Jones wants to consult with stakeholders from across industry, consumer groups and the trade unions to get a better understanding of ethical issues surrounding modern technology before aiming ‘to develop credible public policy recommendations and to ultimately help influence Government policy in the future.’

Professor Floridi has written extensively about information technology and ethics, has worked as an ethicist for Google, and serves in many public capacities advising on these matters, including as chair of the Advisory Board of the European Data Protection Supervisor’s 2018 International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners, Co-chair of the Ethics in Data Science Working Group in the British Cabinet Office, and Co-author of the UNESCO Code of Ethics for the Information Society.

In a tweet announcing his appointment, Professor Floridi wrote that he was ‘deeply honoured’ to be nominated chair of the advisory board and added: ‘There is so much good work to be done. I look forward to it.’

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