Australian privacy regulator reform plan, White House sustainability talks, Davos summit’s ‘uncertainty’ warning: policy & delivery roundup

By on 28/01/2022 | Updated on 31/01/2022

Global Government Forum’s weekly digest of all the news you need to know but might have missed

Privacy regulator calls for more powers to enhance national regime

The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner has called for proposed reforms to the country’s privacy regime to focus on protecting consumers from individual and collective privacy risks and harms.

In a submission into the government’s review of the Privacy Act, Angelene Falk, the information commissioner and privacy commissioner, said that an upgraded privacy framework was need to reinforce trust and security in the digital world.

Among the recommendations was a call for consumers to take control of their personal information through new rights and enhanced transparency requirements, and establishing a regulatory framework that supports “proactive and targeted regulation”. The submission also calls for more direct avenues of redress for individuals, and appropriate deterrents against mishandling of personal information.

“By embedding strong accountability measures, businesses and other organisations can build a reputation for strong and effective privacy management, which is essential for meeting community expectations and realising the benefits of the personal information they hold,” Falk added.

White House hosts sustainability talks for federal officials

The White House has held the first in a series of events intended to help educate and inform federal workers about the impact of climate change.

The first event was held with Katharine Hayhoe, a professor at Texas Tech University and an author on the most recent U.S. National Climate Assessment released in 2018, according to Government Executive.

“Through this series, employees will enhance their sustainability and climate literacy, learn more about the President’s Federal Sustainability Plan and their critical role in the shift to more sustainable and resilient operations,” a White House spokesperson told the website. Subsequent presentations are expected to be held in April, August and December.

East Asian governments surge in AI readiness

Governments in countries across East Asia have leapt ahead in their readiness to adopt artificial intelligence in public services, according to an annual index report released by Oxford Insights.

The 2021 Government AI Readiness Index ranked 160 countries in total, scoring each out of 100 based on indicators of AI readiness, including government vision, technology sector size and available data and infrastructure.

Governments in East Asian countries for the first time made up around 25% of the top-scoring 20 countries overall, with Singapore the highest in second place. The US topped the index meanwhile, owing to the size and maturity of its technology sector.

The report pointed to East Asia’s “global success in AI research and its advanced computing power”. It added that, with the exception of Taiwan, all the highest-ranking countries in the region scored significantly above the global average in both skills, education and infrastructure.

Davos summit warns of 2022 ‘uncertainty’

A World Economic Forum event held last week highlighted global collaboration in areas including the COVID-19 pandemic response, the economic recovery and climate action as among the vital areas for action in 2022.

The Davos Agenda 2022, which included heads of state and government, chief executives and other leaders coming together to propose solutions to pressing global issues, highlighted the uncertainty around the spread of the omicron variant of coronavirus, and overlapping economic issues from the pandemic and climate crisis.

Klaus Schwab, the World Economic Forum’s founder and executive chairman, said challenges were mounting, “from supply chain disruptions, to tectonic shifts in labour markets, to inflation figures which are of concern to policy-makers and individuals alike”.

He added: “The year ahead is a crucial one to work together, rebuild trust and shape a better and more inclusive future for all.”

About Richard Johnstone

Richard Johnstone is the executive editor of Global Government Forum, where he helps to produce editorial analysis and insight for the title’s audience of public servants around the world. Before joining GGF, he spent nearly five years at UK-based title Civil Service World, latterly as acting editor, and has worked in public policy journalism throughout his career.

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