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​$2 million fund helps combat information age challenges for Kiwis

​$2 million fund helps combat information age challenges for Kiwis

A new, independent $2 million research fund is now available for projects that will better prepare New Zealand for the challenges of the information age.

A new, independent $2 million research fund is now available for projects that will better prepare New Zealand for the challenges of the information age.

The New Zealand Law Foundation’s Information Law and Policy Project (ILAPP), launched at Parliament this week by Justice and Communications Minister Amy Adams, will develop law and policy around IT, data, information and cyber-security.

“Technology affects virtually every area of our daily lives, and the pace of change has law-makers and bureaucrats struggling to keep up,” Law Foundation executive director, Lynda Hagen, said.

“The global nature of information poses threats and opportunities for New Zealand – how we manage it, and trade in it. What capabilities do we need to deal with cyber-crime, now a $400 billion global industry?

“How can citizens control use of their data – and what is the impact of technology on our democracy? These are just some of the big challenges that the information age has thrown at us.

“The Information Law and Policy Project seeks to focus New Zealand’s best experts on solutions that are right for us. For our small, trade-dependent nation, this work couldn’t be more critical.”

Hagen said The Law Foundation, an independent charitable trust, has launched ILAPP with input from relevant public and private interests.

“The project will bring together teams of experts to examine challenges and opportunities in areas like global information, cyber-security, data exploitation, and technology-driven social change,” Hagen explained.

In addition to legal experts, Hagen said potential collaborators include computer scientists, economists, sociologists, philosophers, IT and data specialists, business, cyber-security experts, government/public sector, crown research institutes, civil society and users.

“The Law Foundation supports independent legal thinking,” Hagen added. “We will work collaboratively with government and private interests, but the research outcomes must serve the wider public rather than any vested interest.

“We expect the projects to have practical outcomes, in particular on how New Zealand can gain commercially, and be protected, through technology developments. For example, how can New Zealand’s predominantly small businesses, lacking expertise and scale, unlock the economic value of their data?

“While the rapidly-evolving information landscape makes the development of lasting law and policy solutions especially challenging, we expect the projects to be future focussed, to identify ongoing issues and propose solution frameworks.”

The scope of ILAPP has been developed in consultation with many interests including experts from the law schools, the Government’s 2015 cyber-security strategy, InternetNZ, the Innovation Partnership, the Data Futures Partnership, Google New Zealand, Spark, and the Office of the Privacy Commissioner.

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