Six questions worth asking on digital Brexit

BCS has been polling its members for their views on Brexit. And, through our new lens of Making IT good for society, have produced a discussion document on how the UK should plan for a successful digital future outside the EU - coming soon! In the interim, here are some things to consider...

The Institute's general position is that the UK’s future success outside the EU will be underpinned by our choices on major digital issues. So, what should we be asking? (N. B. of course, this is not a definitive list of issues, other questions are available...)

1. Data

Data relationships are a global issue, and one where the UK has incredible opportunity to lead change, drive growth, and support a fair society.

Some at BCS have suggested that this could even warrant calling for a Royal Commission on personal data; with the aim of the UK being a leader in global data protection and exploitation: what are the key issues it should aim to nail down?

2. Skills

In the 21st century, growth and innovation is underpinned by the digital capability of its resident population and the skills of its IT professionals. Post-brexit Britain will be in dire need of a range of capabilities simply to enact the changes as the UK leaves - as well as to support future growth and ambitions.

How do we maintain access to non-UK talent and ensure investment in education and training for the existing UK workforce?

3. A key area...

Security in all contexts - personal, corporate and national - has continued to increase in importance.

How can we produce an integrated strategy to create a vibrant industry around information security, with the right talent, investment in research, business involvement, government capability and international cooperation?

4. Connectivity

The UK’s infrastructure does not compare well against international competition for infrastructure; without further investment we are guaranteed to lag.

How do we (BCS and the wider industry) ensure that government understand the importance of, and then commit to, the order-of-magnitude change in the scale of investment and pace of roll-out of the infrastructure (5g, fibre etc) that future success will demand?

5. Digital social integration

BCS, with think tank Demos, has been investigating the (perhaps unforeseen) effects of the internet and social media in fragmenting political discussion, and the deleterious effects of the 'echo-chamber' phenomenon and ‘filter bubbles'.

How can we harness these tools for positive debate, whether political or not, and equip everyone, from members of parliament through to the general public, to engage in constructive online debate?

6. Digital social integration follow-up

In line with question 5, should we encourage each political party to elucidate a strategy to develop and proliferate a positive social norm in online debate, including supporting office holders and party members in constructive online debate and help them deal with abuse?

Get involved

BCS is running an event to look at some of these issues on 27 October. You can look out for the outputs if you would like to, but you can also participate in the debates...

Find out more information on Brexit

Comments (2)

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  • 1
    David McLean wrote on 20th Oct 2016

    An interesting set of questions. However there are 2 points I would like to raise:

    (a) What Poll of members on their views - never seen one.

    (b) BCS is a national organisation and on a subject as significant as post Brexit implications, holding one short evening meeting in Manchester hardly provides members in the rest of the country (outside London of course) with any opportunity to participate. How about a series of events around the Regions ?

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  • 2
    Brian Runciman wrote on 21st Oct 2016

    Thanks for your feedback David. The poll was randomised to a limited number of members, so it would seem you weren’t in that group.
    We will be undertaking a number of things to continue the Brexit debate. Details will follow!

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About the author

Brian is Head of Content at BCS and blogs about the Institute’s role in making IT good for society, historical developments in computing, the implications of CS research and more.

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September 2017