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UK, US launch tech challenges to tackle financial crime

UK US challenges

A series of challenges for tech developers has been launched in a joint venture between the UK and US governments to boost cybersecurity, combat financial crime and tackle public health emergencies.

First announced at the end of last year but launched on Wednesday, the bilateral innovation prize challenges are focused on advancing privacy and security technology.

First revealed at the Summit for Democracy, the challenges are part of a plan to overcome the technical gaps and adoption of privacy-enhancing technologies (PETs).

A cash prize pool of £1.3m has now been jointly funded by the British and American governments and will be awarded to the best examples of AI models trained on sensitive data.

“Privacy-enhancing technologies can help our democracies to harness the power of data and AI to support our citizens and businesses – in a way that reinforces our shared values,” said the UK digital secretary Nadine Dorries.

“The UK is striving to unlock the power of data across the economy. This prize challenge will build on the UK’s comprehensive National Data Strategy and help to raise the profile of these technologies on both sides of the Atlantic, laying the foundations for future collaboration.”

There will be a series of challenges, with the first being targeted toward tackling financial crime, especially international money laundering.

Following that there will be a challenge concerning medical data, inspired by the difficulty national health services had in responding to the pandemic.

“We are on the cusp of solving some of the world’s most intractable problems and improving our quality of life with the power of artificial intelligence, but we must do it responsibly by upholding our shared values around privacy,” said the US secretary of commerce Gina Raimondo.

“I’m thrilled that we’re launching these joint UK-US privacy enhancing technology prize challenges and motivating our best researchers in industry and academia to innovate on protecting privacy so that we can all reap the benefits.”