Category Archives: Digital Rights

Digital Wildfires

CaSMa hosted, in collaboration with the Wildfires team, a workshop on how rumours, provocative content and (mis)information flows and goes viral on social media.

Baroness Beeban Kidron, Keynote speaker at the Digital Wildfires.
Baroness Beeban Kidron, Keynote speaker at the Digital Wildfires.

This is a serious problem which can lead to confrontation between freedom of information and societal safety. Self-regulation is a solution, however, how to promote self-regulation and awareness is the real challenge. Continue reading Digital Wildfires

Submission to the UK Parliament’s Science and Technology Committee on Digital Skills

DigitalSkillsToday was the deadline for submitting written evidence  to the UK Parliament’s Science and Technology Committee on Digital Skills. Continuing on the work of the 2014/15 ‘House of Lords Select Committee on Digital Skills‘, the call invited written submissions including the following issues:

  • The extent to which there is a digital skills gap and whether the Government’s initiatives are appropriate and sufficient to fill the gap;
  • Further measures by Government needed to improve digital literacy;
  • How well the current education system addresses the digital skills gap;
  • What is being done to equip teachers in the classroom;
  • The adequacy of the current ICT provision in schools;
  • The work being done by universities and industry to ensure that the computing curriculum is relevant;
  • The extent to which there is a digital divide and whether digital exclusion exits in the current workforce;
  • The financial impact of the lack of basic digital skills on the economy; and
  • The extent of any unconscious bias in the digital/IT sector.

Continue reading Submission to the UK Parliament’s Science and Technology Committee on Digital Skills

Analysis of the draft Investigatory Powers Bill (part 2)

IPB

Continuation from part 1

One of the much vaunted features of the IPB by the Home Secretary is the so called ‘double lock’ provided by the requirement that the Judicial Commissioner has to sign off on any warrant in order for it to take effect. So what do we know about the position of the Judicial Commissioner, and how they will be appointed?

Continue reading Analysis of the draft Investigatory Powers Bill (part 2)

Analysis of the draft Investigatory Powers Bill (part 1)

IPBThe draft Investigatory Powers Bill (IPB) is a proposed new law on surveillance that was presented to parliament in November 2015. The bill is currently before the Joint Committee (i.e. both Houses of Parliament) which is investigating the content of the bill and will report its recommendations to the Houses in February 2016. The first step of the procedure having been a call for written evidence, which had to be submitted by 21 December 2015, as well as public hearings in November, December 2015 and January 2016. Since the IPB has obvious implications for privacy and digital rights, I decided to take a closer look at the Bill (despite it being 299 pages long).

Continue reading Analysis of the draft Investigatory Powers Bill (part 1)

Quiet preparations for a Care.Data re-start?

CareDataFor those of us who might not be in the UK, or have too many other things to think about, a brief reminder. Care.Data is the name of the programme in the UK that aims to bring together into a central database the patient data that is currently held distributed through the country at each separate GP surgery.

Continue reading Quiet preparations for a Care.Data re-start?

Government surveillance powers require careful legislation

snooper1In the shadow of the tragic attacks in Paris recently, people will undoubtedly be asking themselves again what could possibly be done to improve the safety of innocent civilians and protect all us of from further violence of that, or any other, kind. Predictable, voices will be calling for more powers for security agencies and urging government to rush the newly proposed Investigative Powers Bill (IPB) through parliament so that GCHQ can drag their search net though the internet and stop any future attacks from happening.

Continue reading Government surveillance powers require careful legislation

Excellent information about Internet Tracking provided by Mozilla

tracking-hero.9459fc73aea2Today Mozilla’s Smart On series provided an excellent explanation and overview of the way in which Tracking is used online to gain access to personal information about web users.

Continue reading Excellent information about Internet Tracking provided by Mozilla

House of Lords vs. Algorithm Overlords!

Lords_v_AIAs a researcher who has spent some time working on AI and Robotics I naturally tend to notice when AI gets discussed in the news. Over the last couple of years, social media and software companies have all started to invest heavily in AI research such as Google’s purchase of the robotics company Boston Dynamics, Facebook, as well as Microsoft, Apple and IBM’s Watson and Deep Blue of course. Partially in response to this, research institutes (e.g. Future of Life institute, Future of Humanity institute, Machine Intelligence Research Institute (MIRI)) and well known scientists and industrialists (e.g. Stephen Hawking, Max Tegmark, Elon Musk and Bill Gates) have launched various campaigns and given media interviews to raise their concerns about the possible extinction level threat posed by the possible rise of Superintelligent AI.

Continue reading House of Lords vs. Algorithm Overlords!

The People give Peeple a one-star rating

PeepleStarting some time in the middle of last week, much of the social media related news coverage has been dominated by the so called ‘positivity app’ Peeple that proposes to let people give ratings about other people,  and the outright negative response it has elicited in the vast majority of people (including us). Since any such endeavor obviously steps into a massive “ethics minefield”, CaSMa was naturally attracted to looking into this a bit more.

Continue reading The People give Peeple a one-star rating

Can there be a ‘not good, money back’ guarantee when paying with data?

Data_as_money Undoubtedly by now everyone who reads this blog piece will have heard statements like ‘data is the new currency’, or something along the same lines. From a practical lived-experiance perspective the analogies seems obvious. After-all, we pay for software apps and internet services by surrendering private information. It seems the only way to explain the massive stock market valuations of many internet companies.

Continue reading Can there be a ‘not good, money back’ guarantee when paying with data?