Comment

“Control alt or delete”: consumer attitudes to data collection and use

“Control alt or delete”: consumer attitudes to data collection and use

Data-dependent technology has become fully integrated in society and is transforming people’s lives. Companies have never known so much about consumers, collecting data from online searches, purchase histories from credit cards, inferred data from social media interactions - the sources are numerous. Discussion of these changes usually leads to a debate on privacy.

In this Comment piece for The Observatory, Caroline Normand, Director of Policy at Which?, looks at how Which? wanted to take a step back from this narrow focus and ask a broader question: how do consumers feel about data collection and its use by organisations in general?

GDPR and the national opt-out: a new opportunity for patient data

GDPR and the national opt-out: a new opportunity for patient data

With the imminent introduction of the GDPR, organisations using personal data will need to be much clearer and demonstrate better accountability over how and why they use data, and how they protect it. This is particularly important in healthcare, which is underpinned by the relationship of trust and confidentiality between clinicians and patients. At the same time, it is increasingly recognised that better linking and access to patient data could lead to enormous benefits for patients and for the health service. In this blog, Natalie Banner explores some of the core relevant principles of GDPR and what kinds of questions need to be answered to improve transparency over the use of health data.

The missing link in personal data

The missing link in personal data

In this Comment piece, as part of the Observatory's Data Fortnight, Alan Mitchell, the Chairman of Mydex, argues that despite scandals like Cambridge Analytica, the biggest problem - and opportunity - in today’s personal data landscape doesn’t lie in things that are happening but shouldn’t. It lies in things that aren’t happening but should: like individuals being empowered with their own data.

AI, ethics and data: a watershed moment for UK tech

AI, ethics and data: a watershed moment for UK tech

Recent events have led to much debate about the ethical impact of the use of data-driven technology in democratic societies. Sue Daley of techUK argues that the tech sector must not shy away from the complex ethical debate around data usage, otherwise we put at risk the innovation we need to support a thriving society and economy across the UK.

Supporting a safer relationship with the Internet

Supporting a safer relationship with the Internet

Safer Internet Day 2018, the annual global movement to promote the safe use of technology to children and young people, takes place on Tuesday 6 February. In the run up to this year’s event, Corsham Institute (Ci) has been working with schools in the local community in Wiltshire and in this piece, Ci’s CEO Rachel Neaman reflects on some of the findings from this work and what it tells us about the need for new approaches to digital resilience.

Digital democracy and online voting

Digital democracy and online voting

There are a plethora of digital democracy initiatives exploding onto the scene in Britain, all aiming to harness technology to bring the population and the policymaking process closer together. Areeq Chowdhury, Chief Executive of WebRoots Democracy, explains why they will all fail unless we solve the political, technological, and psychological challenges of online voting.

What can anthropology tell us about data in the 21st century?

What can anthropology tell us about data in the 21st century?

Data is no longer just the outcome of scientific research or administrative functions of government but is now created as a bi-product of every person’s interactions with the internet, infrastructures, institutions, news media, supermarkets, banks, the built environment and so on. Dr Hannah Knox makes the case for the crucial role that anthropology can play in wading through this data saturated landscape.

Story telling on digital platforms

Story telling on digital platforms

What impact has digital technology had on traditional means of telling stories and making documentaries? As we enter the traditional time of year for families and friends to sit down at the same time and watch the same thing live on TV, award-winning wildlife filmmaker James Brickell reflects on the opportunities – and challenges – for telling stories in a digital age.

Degree apprenticeships: positive news for tech

Degree apprenticeships: positive news for tech

Digital skills are essential for all sectors of the economy, both to transform traditional businesses and address the productivity gap, as well as to harness the innovative potential of emerging technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and the Internet of Things. Yet 52% of tech companies report that they have hard-to-fill vacancies and only 17% of the existing tech workforce are female. In this article, Tech Partnership’s Craig Hurring sets out seven ways these degree apprenticeships can transform the tech sector.

A watershed moment for the UK’s digital inclusion agenda?

A watershed moment for the UK’s digital inclusion agenda?

The impact of digital exclusion is significant. Nine percent of the UK population are still offline and 11.5m adults have no basic digital skills. But we may be approaching a watershed moment where the approaches we have taken to date will not be those that will work in the future. This article looks at potential approaches to digital inclusion and identifies five potential trends that are likely to become more prominent in the years ahead.

How Ed-tech can help close the skills gap and improve employability for young people

How Ed-tech can help close the skills gap and improve employability for young people

There is a wide body of material about the skills crisis facing the UK, especially for girls. Research from the Social Market Foundation & EDF (2017) shows that 640,000 STEM jobs will need to be filled in the next 6 years. Many of these jobs haven’t even been invented yet. Founders4Schools (F4S) works with educators, young people, employers and partners to help understand and close this gap.