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Computer Software: Japan

Question for Department for International Trade

UIN 91966, tabled on 13 November 2020

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.

Answered on

23 November 2020

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.