The Tech Policy Design Centre at The Australian National University (ANU) has launched a first-of-its-kind Tech Policy Atlas, with the aim of supporting evidence-based research and policy on the innovations shaping our future.
Director of the Tech Policy Design Centre Professor Johanna Weaver has called the Atlas “a real milestone in the development of global tech regulation.”
“We are living in a world where technology is evolving in unexpected ways. Not only is the technologist building the tech shaping our future, but so too are policymakers and legislators who regulate and set standards by which the technologist must comply. Until now there was no central repository for researchers, industry leaders and policymakers to understand how and where this policy is being implemented. We’re proud to say that thanks to the hard work of everyone at the Tech Policy Design Centre and our partners all around the world, that is no longer the case. Global powers like the US, EU and China are in the headlines and at the forefront of global tech policy development, but what I’ve found most amazing is how many parts of the developing world are quickly coming to grips with the implications of new technologies, in their own context. Across Africa, Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya have all identified and adapted to many of the gaps in their tech policy frameworks. Since 2016, Fiji has introduced several bills to deal with cybercrime, false information and online harms. There’s a tendency for people to associate regulation with red tape. But good regulation fosters innovation and keeps us safe. This Atlas will help foster research that will drive better regulation, not just more regulation.” Professor Weaver said.
The Tech Policy Atlas provides an interactive, in-depth experience for users to explore tech policy from around the world, and is helpfully segmented by country, jurisdiction, category and type. Researchers can also access primary sources, with up-to-date information on publication date and time, pdf records, as well as archived sources.
Professor Weaver emphasised that functionality was a primary priority in designing the Tech Policy Atlas. “We wanted to make it as accessible and easy to use as possible. One of the hardest parts of researching global tech policy is knowing which government website to go to and collating and accessing your sources, so we put a lot of work into making sure that users had a smooth experience. Now with only a few clicks you can access and compare information on e-commerce consumer protection in India, ethical frameworks for AI in Colombia, and digital abuse legislation in Tonga”.
The Atlas currently covers 36 countries from around the world, and includes over 2000 entries, with more being added. Professor Weaver said the work on the Atlas is still ongoing.
“The Atlas is open-source and we rely on contributions from users to expand and update the dataset. Our expert team at the Tech Policy Design Centre are constantly reviewing, analysing, and adding to the submissions we receive to make sure everything included in the Atlas is accurate and up to date. It really highlights how fascinating and critical future developments in global tech policy will be, and we at
Tech Policy Design Centre can’t wait to keep working at the forefront of this expanding field.” Professor Weaver said.