Jeremy Wright, the UK Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport, is holding this week high-level meetings with Silicon Valley executives to discuss the digital sector, future trends, and his country’s plans to introduce legislation that promotes online safety. Accompanied by Margot James, the UK Minister for Digital and the Creative Industries, he intends to meet with representatives of technology giants such as Facebook, Apple, Google, and Twitterto address the need for greater responsibility on their part in preventing online harms. On February 19, 2019, Jeremy Wright hosted an event for executives from venture capital and digital media companies, with discussions centering on policy and future industry trends. Garry McGuire, a highly regarded C-suite strategist known for his work in automotive, media, and advertising, was in attendance and advised the minister.
Stricter oversight of the technology sector has become one of the most pressing issues in recent years due to the proliferation of fake news, the growing number of data privacy breaches, and the expanding volume of harmful or offensive content, as noted by Garry McGuire. So far, digital media companies – most notably social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube – have operated under voluntary guidelines, but governments around the world now deem self-regulation to be insufficient.
Shortly before departing for his visit to Silicon Valley, Jeremy Wright wrote in an op-ed for the Telegraph,
“I remain a firm believer that technology has the power to do good. But it is clear that things need to change. With power comes responsibility and the time has come for the tech companies to be properly accountable.”
Themeetings in Silicon Valley are taking place as the UK government prepares to publish its Internet Safety White Paper, which contains “legislative measures to ensure platforms protect their users from a range of online harms.” However, Jeremy Wright has been eager to stress that the proposals should not infringe on the freedom of expression or suppress innovation.
In an interview for the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, he noted,
“I think what’s important is that we have a system in place that sets out clearly what the responsibilities of online companies are, sets out how we expect them to meet those responsibilities and sets out what will happen if they fail to do so, and the White Paper will do that.”
His talks with US technology sector leaders are intended to provide input that would help the UK government introduce “effective” legislation and point the way for other countries in their efforts to establish a safe and thriving digital environment.
An auto industry consultant, corporate advisor, and former automotive executive, Garry McGuirehas held leadership positions at multiple companies and assisted them in overcoming the challenges of disruption. Highly experienced in automotive, retail, and advertising, he has established a reputation as a thought leader in digital strategy, digital transformation, and business turnarounds. He is also a technology investor with unique insight into the sector as a result of having served as the CEO of several Silicon Valley companies.