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UK safety tech sector sees strong revenue and employment growth

Safety tech is currently among the fastest-growing sectors in the united kingdom tech industry, with jumps in revenue, investment and employment

Sebastian Klovig Skelton


Published: 02 Aug 2022 13: 04

UK safety tech companies saw a revenue increase of 21% in the last year to attain 381m, rendering it among the fastest-growing sectors of the united kingdom tech industry, in accordance with a government-backed sectoral analysis.

Conducted by Perspective Economics with respect to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), the UK safety tech sector: 2022 analysis discovered that the amount of companies delivering safety tech services and products grew by 17% to 117, with jobs in the sector increasing by 30% to total 2,850.

Of the 117 safety tech companies identified by the analysis, 57% are based outside London and the South East, with hotspots in Leeds and Edinburgh, and emerging centres of activity in Greater Manchester, Oxford, Bristol and Belfast.

You can find encouraging signs of newly registered startups, particularly in the domains of tackling disinformation and developing new methods to content moderation and video and image analysis at scale, said the analysis. Existing firms specialising in communication and semantics may also be getting into the safety tech domain.

Due to considerable growth within UK safety tech, there’s been sustained interest from the investment community. It remains likely that the united kingdom could see its first safety tech unicorn [a company worth over $1bn] emerge in the coming years.

The report said total external investment into UK safety tech reached 63m cross 16 deals in 2021, although about 50 % of the (30m) visited Faculty, an artificial intelligence (AI) company which has previously done the controversial NHS Covid-19 datastore. It really is run by Mark Warner, who also advised on the info operation for the Dominic Cummings-led Vote Leave EU referendum campaign.

Other investments include 15.2m raised by SafeToNet, which uses AI and analytics to simply help safeguard children by detecting threats; 5.8m raised by Vault Platform, a workplace misconduct reporting app; and 5m raised by Cyacomb, that is working with police agencies around the world to detect child sexual abuse material (CSAM).

Making the internet safer isn’t only the right move to make, its best for business, said digital minister Damian Collins. UK tech firms are in the leading edge developing practical answers to the risks posed by the web in order that it is still a benefit, not just a detriment, to peoples lives.

They will have blazed a trail of growth, innovation and job creation to become world leaders within their field and we have been focused on maintaining their upward trajectory.

In accordance with another Ipsos report released on 27 July, Trust, safety and the digital economy, companies that adopt online safety technology also experience greater brand trust, higher user engagement and better staff and customer retention.

I’m delighted to note that the Safety tech sector analysis confirms there’s been strong growth in sales, employment and investment in the sector also it remains among the fastest growing elements of the economy, said Ian Stevenson, chair of the web Safety Tech Industry Association (OSTIA).

The brand new Trust, safety and the digital economy report highlights how platforms reap the benefits of safety tech by creating healthier and much more resilient online environments, that have commercial value along with benefiting their users. These new analyses can help OSTIA members among others in the sector continue these positive trends.

The sectoral analysis and Ipsos report can be found in the wake of the united kingdom government pausing the passing of the web Safety Bill after legislative timetabling issues meant Parliament was struggling to push the bill through prior to the summer recess.

In his foreword to the DCMS report, Collins said the federal government would continue steadily to fund the safety tech sector, and noted: The Safety Tech Challenge Fund has recently supported the development of innovative technologies to keep children safe in end-to-end encrypted [E2EE] environments, while upholding user privacy.

Three companies focusing on a Safety Tech Challenge Fund project to detect CSAM before it reaches encrypted environments told Computer Weekly in January 2022 that pre-encryption scans for such content also called client-side scanning can be executed without compromising privacy.

Although Apple attemptedto introduce client-side scanning technology referred to as Neural Hash to detect known child sexual abuse images on iPhones this past year, the plans were placed on indefinite hold after an outcry by tech experts.

A written report by 15 leading computer scientists, Bugs inside our pockets: the risks of client-side scanning, published by Columbia University, identified multiple techniques states, malicious actors and abusers could turn the technology around to harm others or society.

Client-side scanning, by its nature, creates serious security and privacy risks for several society, as the assistance it could provide for police reaches best problematic, the scientists said. You can find multiple ways that client-side scanning can fail, could be evaded and will be abused.

Talking to Computer Weekly in November 2021 following the announcement of the task Fund winners, then-digital minister Chris Philp said the federal government wouldn’t normally mandate any scanning that goes beyond the scope of uncovering child abuse material.

These technologies are CSAM-specific, he said. I met with the firms two days ago sufficient reason for most of these technologies, its about scanning images and identifying them as either being previously identified CSAM images or first-generation created new ones this is the only capability inherent in these technologies.

Asked whether there is any capacity to scan for just about any other styles of image or content in messages, Philp added: Theyre not made to do this. Theyd have to be repurposed for that, as thats not how theyve been designed or setup. Theyre specific CSAM scanning technologies.

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