The Taso Tech Tracker provides insight into the general population’s views on the regulatory and political questions that are most important to technology companies, polling representative samples on a monthly basis over the course of the year. Taso Advisory uses this data and analysis to support policy and public affairs teams in technology companies to address the issues that matter most to them.
2022 was a busy year for the UK Government. Three Prime Ministers, an economic crash, and the death of Britain’s longest serving monarch. Through it all, the UK Government has continued to pursue an ambitious technology policy agenda.

This has centred on online safety, competition in digital markets, a reformed data regime, artificial intelligence and more.

As we go into 2023 - a year set to be just as busy when it comes to tech policy - understanding the views, beliefs and trends that underpin the politics of technology has never been more important.
Despite a turbulent year, the public view on tech has stayed broadly consistent. The public retains its belief that tech has made their lives better overall. But they also believe that tech businesses must act responsibly and judiciously with the power that they now hold - over society, personal data and the content that users encounter.

If you would like to receive updates when our latest tranches of data are published, please let us know. We will also be happy to arrange time with our team to explore the data further.
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As the UK Government pushes ahead with an ambitious and far-reaching plan for regulating technology, understanding the views and trends that underpin the politics of technology has never been more important.

This page provides some high level findings from the first six months of the Taso Tech Tracker.

There is a broadly positive sentiment towards tech. But as soon as there is a policy or regulatory prompt the British public express serious concern.

The British public believe that tech firms have made their lives better - but believe that they should act more responsibly with the power that they now hold - over society, personal data and the content that users encounter.

If you would like to receive updates when our latest tranches of data are published, please let us know. If you would like to book time with one of the team to explore the data further, please get in touch.
People think that tech has made society better.
Question: Overall, do you think technology has generally made society better or worse, or has it made no difference?
People generally believe that tech has made society better. This is unsurprising. Whether it’s maps, or email, or video calling family abroad, tech has a huge and positive impact.

However, a significant minority remain concerned about the impact that technology has on society. While there is a consistent number of people who express concerns, those figures grow in line with the news agenda. For example, Elon Musk’s dramatic first month in charge of Twitter in November 2022 was also the month where we recorded most concern about the possible impact of tech in wider society.

These figures show that it remains important for tech firms to make positive, proactive arguments that outline the benefits they deliver to people across the country. But it also shows that concerns amongst the British public can be magnified by policy, regulatory or media pressure, demonstrating the importance of addressing fears head on.
People think that large tech companies have too much influence over society.
Question: Do you think large online tech firms, such as social media companies and search engines, have too much or too little influence over society in general, or is the current balance about right?
Too much influence
Too little influence
Current balance is about right
Although people generally believe that tech has made society better, around 70% of people also believe that large tech companies have too much influence over society.

This is unsurprising within the current media and political environment. While tech is a broad umbrella encompassing a vast number of businesses and subsectors, the public debate focuses largely on big tech businesses that sit at the eye of the regulatory and reputational storm.

It is also unlikely that this will change in the immediate future. It comes as the UK Government prepares to bring the Digital Markets, Competition and Consumer Bill to Parliament, putting big tech firmly in the crosshairs.

To avoid being tarred with the same brush when it comes to new regulation, mid-cap and smaller tech companies will need to distance themselves from “Big Tech” in the eyes of policymakers, politicians, the media and the public.

People believe that there is too much harmful content online, and they want to see tech companies doing more to deal with it.
Question: How concerned, if at all, are you about the amount of harmful content on the internet?; & Do you think online technology firms, such as social media companies and search engines, should be doing more to limit and remove harmful content from their services, or are they currently doing all they reasonably can?
Concerned about harmful content online
Believe online technology companies should be doing more to limit and remove harmful content
The Online Safety Bill has been the piece of tech policy about which the UK Government has been loudest in 2022 and its focus on harmful content is mirrored by concerns among the public.

Consistently, around 75% of respondents are concerned about harmful content on the internet. Additionally, a similar number believe that technology firms should be taking further steps to tackle such content when it is online. The ambitions of the Online Safety Bill play well with the public and across the political spectrum.

However, there is a political risk that the aspirations of the bill will not be matched by the output. Tech businesses have already strengthened their efforts to identify and remove harmful content, while also significantly improving transparency reporting to demonstrate both how and how much content they’re removing. This means there is a chance that the Bill will pass to much fanfare but with comparatively little to show for it.

Tech companies allowing user-to-user interactions and the creation of user-generated content should continue to proactively engage with Ofcom, the UK Government and the Opposition to shape the policy. They should also be showing the public how they deal with harmful content and what they’re doing to make users safe.

This will both support efforts to increase trust amongst the public and help both UK Government and political parties to positively manage expectations.
Most people are worried about the collection, storage and usage of personal data, but our polling suggests that they do not differentiate between the three.
Question: Based on what you know or have heard, how worried, if at all, are you about online technology firms, such as social media companies and search engines, using, collecting or storing individuals’ personal data?
Personal data collection
Personal data storage
Personal data use
A favourite refrain of politicians in 2022 has been to tell us that data is the “new oil”, and that it will drive the UK and the global economy into the future. Although its progress is currently paused, the UK Government understands the importance of the Data Protection and Digital Information Bill in creating a data policy regime that both protects individuals while encouraging innovation.

Our polling shows that the average member of the British public is concerned about their personal data, but does not differentiate between its collection, storage and use. This suggests there is a divide between the public view of the collection, storage and use of personal data, which is narrow, and the policy perspective, which is nuanced.

Tech companies need to think about how they communicate their data programmes to inspire trust. Importantly, this means adopting different approaches for communicating with the wider public and with UK Government or regulators to ensure they effectively address differing concerns.

Most people are uncomfortable exchanging their personal data for free digital services.
Question: How comfortable or uncomfortable are you sharing your personal data with online technology firms, such as social media companies and search engines, in exchange for using their services for free?
Tech companies across a range of market sectors regularly provide services to users for free. This is done for legitimate commercial reasons, such as encouraging a user to try a limited version of a platform before they buy or to allow them access to a platform to engage with content, but has tended to be strongly framed as a no cost transaction.

Our research shows that the British public understands that using a platform for free comes with a trade off. Roughly three quarters of the public are uncomfortable about online technology firms accessing their personal data for use of a service, in comparison to a quarter who are happy to do so.

This poses two key questions for policy makers and tech businesses respectively. UK Government and regulators will likely ask themselves how much this balance is due to an educated trade off between personal data and access to a service versus a more problematic issue (e.g. a lack of competition forcing users onto a service).

Tech firms using personal data within their service, meanwhile, will need to answer the question about what is the appropriate level of transparency and information required to help the public feel more comfortable about the trade off.

The public understands that access to a digital service doesn’t come without a cost but it will be beneficial to better explain the precise nature of this to users.

People generally think cryptocurrencies should be more regulated than they are currently.
Question: Do you think the UK Government should be doing more or less to regulate cryptocurrencies in the UK, or are they currently doing enough?
Should be doing more
Should be doing less
Currently doing enough
Cryptocurrency global market cap
In a year that has seen cryptocurrency market capitalisation crash from a peak of over $2 trillion to less than $800 billion, as well as multiple high profile collapses of crypto businesses - FTX most notable of all - public sentiment on regulating cryptocurrencies has remained remarkably stable.

The percentage of respondents who thought that the UK Government should be doing more to regulate cryptocurrency has hovered around the 50% mark for 12 months. This stability is also evident in respondents who think the UK Government should be doing less and who think the UK Government is currently doing enough.

Despite this stability, the data shows that crypto and web3 businesses still have an uphill struggle to show that they are a safe option for consumers and that they are playing by the rules. Working with both the UK Government and regulators, while also communicating this work to the wider public, will be critical in 2023.
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A note on methodology: The Taso Tech Tracker is based on polling conducted by YouGov and commissioned by Taso Advisory. Fieldwork begins on the first working day of each month. The surveys are carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+). Details of fieldwork and sample sizes are as follows:

  • February 2022 - Fieldwork 1st - 2nd February 2022, n = 1,661
  • March 2022 - Fieldwork 1st - 2nd March 2022, n = 2,422
  • April 2022 - Fieldwork 1st - 3rd April 2022, n = 1,701
  • May 2022 - Fieldwork 3rd - 4th May 2022, n = 1,722
  • June 2022 - Fieldwork 1st - 3rd June 2022, n = 1,830 
  • July 2022 - Fieldwork 1st - 4th July 2022, n = 1,746
  • August 2022 - Fieldwork 8th - 9th August 2022, n = 1,717
  • September 2022 - Fieldwork 1st - 2nd September 2022, n = 1,657
  • October 2022 - Fieldwork 3rd - 4th October 2022, n = 1,697
  • November 2022 - Fieldwork 1st - 2nd November 2022, n = 1,691
  • December 2022 - Fieldwork 1st - 2nd December 2022, n = 1,647
  • January 2023 - Fieldwork 3rd - 4th January 2022, n = 1,721


The cryptocurrency market capitalisation data source is CoinMarketCap.

If you have further questions about methodology, please contact Ben Greenstone ([email protected]).

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