Britain’s leading global safety technology sector sees strong sales and job growth

  • Revenue from the Safety Technology segment increased by 21 per cent in the past year, exceeding £381m
  • Jobs in this sector grew by 30 per cent, to 2,850 people across the UK

British safety technology companies are leading the global fight against online damage and are one of the fastest growing sectors of the UK technology industry, according to an independent report published by the government today.

Over a hundred companies across the UK are creating innovative products and services to make platforms, apps and websites safer. They do this, for example, by helping to detect illegal content — such as child sexual abuse and terrorist material — by countering online harassment and misinformation, and by preventing minors from accessing inappropriate content.

UK Safety Technology Sector Analysis: A 2022 analysis by Perspective Economics on behalf of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport reveals that revenue from the UK’s safety technology sector jumped 21 per cent last year, to £381m.

There was a 30 percent increase in the number of safety technology jobs in 2021, with an additional 650 jobs bringing the total number of people working in the sector to 2,850. Jobs in this sector include content moderators, policy specialists, as well as research and technology developers.

The safety technology sector is on track to grow further, generating a record £63m in overseas equity investment last year.

Companies embracing online security technology are also seeing greater brand trust overall, increased user engagement, and improved employee and customer retention, according to a second report, Trust, Security and the Digital Economy, released today.

Digital Minister Damian Collins said:

Making the online world safer is not only the right thing to do, but it is also good for business.

UK technology companies are developing workable solutions to the risks posed by the Internet so that it continues to be a benefit rather than a detriment to people’s lives.

They have pioneered a path of growth, innovation and job creation to become world leaders in their field and we are committed to maintaining their upward trajectory.

There are now 117 safety technology companies operating across the UK, 17 more than last year. More than half of these companies are located outside London, and they have hotspots in Leeds, Edinburgh and Manchester.

These companies include GoBubble, based in Chester, which partners with Professional Footballers Australia and FTSE 250 companies to protect their social media channels from online hate and abuse. Cyacomb, headquartered in Edinburgh, works with law enforcement agencies in Germany, Canada and across the United States to expose illegal child sexual abuse content. The Dorset-based image analysis tool, winner of the 2021 Computing Award for Best Emerging AI Technology, provides AI-based content editing technology for photos and video, including live feeds uploaded by users.

Professor Kiaran Martin, Professor of Government at the University of Oxford, advisor to Paladin Capital Group and founding CEO of the UK’s National Cyber ​​Security Centre, said:

Safer and properly designed technology is critical to everything about our future in an uncertain and sometimes dangerous world. As this report shows, the UK is well positioned to help develop safety technologies in some key areas. It is imperative that we seize this opportunity.”

Andy Burrows, Head of Online Security Policy at the NSPCC, said:

The UK is well positioned to become a world leader in developing innovative solutions that address online harms and keep children safe from preventable abuse. The growth of the safety technology market will enhance the safety of children and generate a significant economic return. As these reports show, upcoming regulation can spur innovation and provide safer and better designed online services for children and youth.

Ian Stevenson, President of the Internet Security Technology Industry Association (OSTIA) said:

I am pleased to see analysis of the Safety Technology sector confirming that there has been strong growth in sales, employment and investment in this sector and it remains one of the fastest growing parts of the economy. The new Trust, Security and Digital Economy report highlights how platforms are leveraging safety technology by creating healthier and more resilient online environments, which have commercial value and benefit their users. These new analyzes will help OSTIA members and others in the sector continue these positive trends.

The Trust Safety and Digital Economy study, conducted by Ipsos, Perspective Economics and Careful Industries, looked at six different industries vital to the UK economy, including gaming and entertainment; social media, applications and platforms; Media and Creative Industries. retail and services; Digital infrastructure and the public sector, to understand the feasibility study for investing in online trust and online security.

The findings of this report support the measures outlined in the Internet Security Act, and the government’s commitment to ensuring that the UK is the safest place in the world to go online.

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Editor’s Notes

  • Earlier this month, the Minister for Technology and Digital Economy, Damian Collins, held a roundtable with safety technology industry leaders to discuss new and emerging tech solutions in the UK that address a range of harms online, including fraud and child exploitation, and how the government can Better support for the growing sector
  • Since 2020, the UK Safety Technology Sector Analysis Report has looked at the rise of this fast-growing sector in which the UK has become an emerging leader. Read the 2020 and 2021 reports here.
  • Interviews for the Trust, Safety and the Digital Economy Report were conducted with participants from 26 organizations between September 2021 and January 2022. Two stakeholder workshops were also held in Fall 2021.
  • Founded in April 2020, the UK Cyber ​​Safety Technology Industry Association (OSTIA) brings together the UK’s leading safety technology companies to advance online safety innovations and solutions in the UK and abroad
  • The government has supported the safety technology sector by creating the Safety Technology Challenge Fund, which was introduced to encourage UK tech companies to find innovative solutions to help keep children safe in end-to-end encrypted environments, while preserving user privacy.
  • In June, the government outlined its support for the safety technology sector in the UK’s digital strategy, including its vision to grow the digital economy, addressing technology sector skills, investment and infrastructure.

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