Computer Software: Japan

Department for International Trade written question – answered on 23rd November 2020.

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Photo of Chi Onwurah Chi Onwurah Shadow Minister (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy), Shadow Minister (Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)

To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Culture Media and Sport, on the potential effect of Article 8.73 on source code of the Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement on promoting transparency of algorithmic decisions; and if she will make a statement.

Photo of Greg Hands Greg Hands The Minister of State, Department for International Trade

The ambitious digital package negotiated in the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement includes protections against the forced transfer of source code and coded algorithms. This means that UK businesses will not be forced to share their source code as a condition of entering the Japanese market and serves to protect companies’ trade secrets. As a consequence, these companies can be confident they will retain any competitive advantage that their source code provides.

However, the agreement also ensures that regulatory bodies and judicial authorities are still able to access source code and algorithms when needed. This ensures government can monitor adherence to, and enforce, laws and regulations concerning algorithmic decisions.

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