Strengthening Australia’s democracy and positioning its economy to reap the full benefits of digital technology will be two of the key issues tackled by a new centre at The Australian National University (ANU).
The ANU’s Tech Policy Design Centre will address some of the biggest challenges we face with the increasing integration of digital technology in our daily lives.
This includes who owns our data and has permission to use it; the increasing influence and power of tech giants; promoting online rights and safety, while protecting against online abuse; and mitigating the impact of misinformation, disinformation and foreign interference on democracy.
The new centre will be led by Johanna Weaver, a former lawyer and Australian diplomat who has held senior positions in cyber affairs at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and, most recently, was Australia’s chief cyber negotiator at the United Nations.
“Digital technologies touch every facet of our lives,” Ms Weaver said. “Today’s policy and governance structures are struggling to keep pace with the rapid evolution of technology. We need to fix that and we to fix it urgently.
“Harnessing the same spirit as the innovators of disruptive technologies, we need to disrupt our approach to tech-policy. Reimagined, tech-policy can be a powerful tool that complements tech innovation and delivers positive social, economic and security outcomes.”
That’s what this new centre will aim to do, she added. The new Centre will work with business, government, civil society, policymakers, and academia to co-design a new generation of tech policy that is relevant, robust and right.
Chancellor the Hon Julie Bishop said the new Tech Policy Design Centre was another example of ANU taking national leadership on the key issues and challenges facing the nation.
“Globally, there is an urgent and increasing demand for new approaches to technology policy,” she said. “In response… the Centre will reimagine how policy can be used in a positive way to shape technology. This will help position our nation to harness the full potential of digital technologies while responsibly mitigating against future harms.”
The Tech Policy Design Centre will focus on four key themes: people, power, democracy and data.
The centre will work with ANU researchers on these four key themes, including the university’s School of Regulation and Global Governance, the 3A Institute and School of Cybernetics, the National Security College, the ANU College of Law, the ANU College of Engineering and Computer Science, and the ANU College of Asia and the Pacific.