UK Consul Reflections: State Visit, Economic Summit, Online Harms Whitepaper & Seattle Pride Parade
At every level of society, culture and state, the United Kingdom and the United States do more together in pursuit of shared security and prosperity than any other two nations in the world. The State Visit to the UK by President Trump and the First Lady this month celebrated that great transatlantic friendship, and our shared values of democracy, rule of law and justice.
The State Visit coincided with the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings, commemorating the courage and sacrifice of those who gave their lives for our liberty, and reaffirming the enduring importance of the Western Alliance.
Looking ahead, Prime Minister May and President Trump took the opportunity to reaffirm their Governments’ commitment to an ambitious free trade agreement and a deeper UK/U.S. economic relationship when the UK leaves the European Union.
Sticking with visits, I am grateful to British Consul General Andrew Whittaker for taking part in the BABC economic summit while he was up here in April. During his summit remarks, Andrew spoke about the UK Government’s recently released Online Harms White Paper, the British Government’s strategy to make the UK the safest place in the world to be online and the best place to start and grow a digital business.
The internet and other new technologies have absolutely driven dramatic improvements to our economy and society. Yet people have strong and legitimate concerns about their safety, security and vulnerability to others’ harmful behaviours while they are online. So the Online Harms White Paper will make tech companies more responsible for their users’ safety online, especially children and other vulnerable groups, and will help to build trust in digital markets. It proposes a new duty of care on companies towards their users, overseen by an independent regulator, backed up by mandatory reporting requirements and effective enforcement powers. Companies will be required to take particularly robust action to tackle terrorist content and online child sexual exploitation and abuse. The white paper is open for comment until 1 July – details of how to comment are in the link above if you’re interested.
Finally, as trailed in my last column, I’m excited that my office and BABC are joining together for the UK’s official Love is GREAT team in this year’s Seattle Pride Parade on 30 June, celebrating LGBT rights, equality and inclusion. Did you know that there are more than 60 annual Pride events in cities across the UK? Please do register here if you’d like to walk with us in Seattle: https://www.babcpnw.org/pride.
Consul (Business and Government Affairs)
UK Government office, Seattle