POST - Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology

Trends in ICT

Published Monday, October 19, 2015

This note looks at developments in information and communication technology (ICT) and their relevance for UK policy in the next five years. It examines the capability, use and economic impact of ICT; technical barriers; and implications for cybersecurity, privacy and internet governance.

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ICT is integral to UK life. The average UK adult spends more time consuming media or communications than sleeping (8h 41m versus 8h 21m).  Social media use has risen from 22% of UK adult internet users in 2007 to 72% in 2015.  The Government identifies telecommunications as part of the UK’s Critical National Infrastructure, and the UK’s ICT sector is worth an estimated £58bn per year.

Trends, such as improved processing power and data storage, greater connectivity, and the digitization of services, are changing how we communicate, conduct business and understand the world around us. They present new opportunities for economic growth and improved living standards, while creating potential challenges for security, privacy and governance.

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The Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology produces independent, balanced and accessible briefings on public policy issues related to science and technology.