Five takeaways from the Safety Tech workshop at Leeds Digital Festival 2021

Celebrating every aspect of digital culture – from data to cyber security and Safety Tech – Leeds Digital Festival brought together the best and the brightest from the world of technology over a two-week period to showcase our dynamic digital sector. 

We were proud to host a Safety Tech focused session, in which attendees discussed key themes for the future of Safety Tech. A special thanks to our panellists, moderators and chairs:

If you were unable to attend, or don’t have the time to watch the session in full, we have summarised the five key takeaways:

1. We (the sector) need to humanise Safety Tech 

Positive and negative stories should be shared and discussed to celebrate the achievements and good work of the Safety Tech sector but also to highlight the need for continued innovation to prevent online harms.

2. It is becoming easier to share harmful content

Technological developments are changing the way that online users are interacting and increasing the risk of harmful content being edited and shared across multiple platforms, making it more difficult to find the original sources of content.

3. Safety Tech is just one solution

Amongst all of the innovation in the Safety Tech sector, it is one segment of an entire digital industry working to create a safer space for all. Global and sector collaboration is key to a harmonised approach to problem solving.

4. Collaborate to create a unified voice against misinformation and privacy 

As noted in takeaway number two, it is becoming easier than ever before for harmful content to be shared across platforms. This means that organisations must work together to identify and block misinformation whilst balancing user privacy in end-to-end encrypted environments.

5. Recruitment and retention of talent is a continued priority

As identified in the DCMS Skills and Capabilities report, the challenges within sector recruitment are ongoing. The key challenges discussed are: 

Lack of sector knowledge – recruiting people who would find working in the sector compelling is difficult due to the lack of sector awareness and what it is trying to achieve. 

The workforce must be diverse – people working in Safety Tech must represent every aspect of society due the sector being driven by machine learning; without representation, bias can be exacerbated by AI technology. 

Burden of data safety – handling sensitive data puts pressure on those working in the sector, particularly community managers. To overcome this, training must be highlighted during recruitment processes to new recruits.

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