US and UK join forces to tackle challenges to advance privacy technologies


The United States and United Kingdom today announced their intention to collaborate on the bilateral Innovation Prize challenges focused on advancing privacy protection (PET) technologies. This emerging group of technologies presents a significant opportunity to harness the power of data in a way that protects privacy and intellectual property, enabling cross-border and cross-sector collaboration to solve common challenges.

Announced at the Democracy Summit, as part of a series of Major International Challenges on Democracy Affirmation Technologies, the Prize’s challenges will take place during the Summit’s “year of action”, accelerating the work to overcome technical shortcomings and adoption challenges related to PETs. By bringing together the best minds from both countries on building viable solutions, the award challenges will aim to help mature and facilitate the adoption of these promising technologies.

PETs are already being used to address a range of societal challenges – from financial crime to Covid-19 – to enable the use of data in ways that maintain confidentiality. The award challenge will build on the extensive innovation in these technologies that is already underway in both countries through academia, industry and government. The joint effort will strengthen the democratic principles enshrined in the New Atlantic Charter and illustrate the commitment of the two nations to work together to address critical transnational challenges.

Dr. Eric Lander, science adviser to the president and director of the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy, said:

Privacy technologies are an essential part of the body of democracy-affirming capabilities that can support our shared democratic values ​​in the face of the authoritarian exploitation of emerging technologies.

It is imperative that we come together as democracies to develop approaches that unleash the economic, scientific and societal benefits of emerging technologies while protecting shared values ​​such as confidentiality, accountability and transparency.

Nadine Dorries, UK Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sports, said:

Privacy-enhancing technologies can help our democracies harness the power of data and AI to support our citizens and businesses – in a way that strengthens our shared values ​​”.

The UK is working to unleash the power of data across the economy. This pricing challenge will build on the UK’s comprehensive national data strategy and help raise the profile of these technologies on both sides of the Atlantic, laying the groundwork for future collaboration.

Building on decades of investment in privacy technology, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, the US National Science Foundation, and the US National Institute of Standards and Technology are leading an interagency initiative to develop jointly challenges with UK expert. A trusted data and AI innovation body, the Center for Data Ethics and Innovation, which will lead a team of specialists from across UK government.

The US and UK plan to launch the price challenges in spring 2022, with early results ready to be shared at the second Democracy Summit.


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