Big Tech: Policy and Advice

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28/09/2022

The Church of England calls on big tech companies to commit to verifiable transparency, industry standards and enhanced protection for children and other vulnerable groups

The Church of England’s Ethical Investment Advisory Group (“EIAG”) today published a report advising investors with Christian values how to approach investing in big technology companies. The Church’s National Investing Bodies (NIBs), which received the advice, have published a new policy in line with this guidance.

The report recommends technology companies make public commitments including:  

  • a commitment to verifiable transparency
  • a commitment to promote human-centred design 
  • a commitment to enable the flourishing of children and other vulnerable groups 
  • a commitment to foster a tech eco-system that serves the common good.

The Bishop of Manchester, Dr David Walker, deputy chair of the EIAG, said:
“This report addresses important issues about how technology influences our lives, including the most vulnerable among us. We recognise it can take years to fully understand how technology shapes how we work, play and interact with each other – only very recently has the full impact of technology become clear.  Investors like the Church’s National Investing Bodies can play a role in working with technology companies to ensure they take a human-centred approach, giving users more control and being transparent about their working practices. I am looking forward to discussing this critically important issue in the House of Lords when the Online Safety Bill is debated.”

The NIBs’ new investment policy builds on their existing work engaging with technology companies. Issues the NIBs’ engagement address include data storage (location and environmental impact), human rights and AI ethics, among others.

The report is available to responsible investors who can refer to it as they develop policies about investing in technology companies. The report can be found here.

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Post expires on December 4th, 2022

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