London Mayor tells tech leaders, ‘Police yourselves – or government will step in’

Kahn, the first British politician to ever deliver a keynote speech at the SXSW conference, calls for a “stronger duty of care” so that social media platforms can live up to their promise

Posted 13 March 2018 at 8:33am by

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan says cities and governments around the world will need to do much more to harness the “great opportunities” of the current tech revolution – as well as combat its “growing and significant” risks.
Kahn made the remarks at yesterday’s South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive Conference in Texas, noting that more must be done to ensure how new technology and innovation can be used to the benefit of everyone in society, plus prevent employment rights being by-passed, more people feeling left behind by the changing nature of economies and more division within communities.
“There’s been a failure to ensure that our economies and our regulatory structures are prepared and relevant,” he stated, adding that, “One of the biggest problems over the last few years is that politicians and governments have just been passive, sitting on their hands while the tech revolution has happened around them.”
That’s a problem, he says, as for Kahn, “It must ultimately fall to government – working with tech businesses and leaders – to ensure that this revolution is not detrimental to our long-term progress, [and] the onus for change should not just be on tech companies and innovators.”
The Mayor – the first British politician to make a keynote speech at the conference – also called for a “stronger duty of care” so that social media platforms can live up to their promise to be places that connect, unify and democratise the sharing of information but also be places where everyone feels welcome and valued.
Kahn finished a wide-ranging speech with a call for greater diversity in the tech sector:
“It’s not only the right thing to do; evidence shows it’s good for business too.”
SXSW is an annual event known for its conference and festivals celebrating the convergence of the interactive, film, and music industries.