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Minister backs data ethics body

Matt Hancock, minister of state for digital, has agreed that “strong governance” is needed for data technologies, following a call from the British Academy and the Royal Society to set up an independent ethics body.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme on 29 June, Hancock backed the idea of setting up a body that advises the government on ethical issues relating to data management and the use of data-enabled technologies.

His comments followed the publication of a report, Data Management and Use: Governance in the 21st century, on the same day by the British Academy and the Royal Society. The report argues that the current framework governing the use of data cannot keep pace with technological advances. The institutions have called for an independent body to safeguard public confidence in the use of data and improve the way data technologies are used in healthcare, business innovation and other areas.

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