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Beyond the Future of Assessment?

A fascinating discussion session with colleagues who worked on Jisc’s “Future of Assessment” report. When that was written, in the first months of 2020, its intention was to look at how things might change over the next five years. Little did we know… When the pandemic hit, suddenly many of things we had expected to […]

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ePrivacy Regulation: one step closer

After four years, and nearly three years after it was meant to be in force, the EU Council of Ministers has finally agreed on a text of the proposed ePrivacy Regulation. This isn’t the end of the process: before it becomes law the Council and European Parliament have to agree on a single text. That […]

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Peacasts

Think “Big benefits”, not “Big Data”

“Big Data” has – often rightly – had a bad press. Is there a better way to think about it? Starting from potential benefits and discussing how they might be achieved should help us choose the right outcomes to aim for when using data, make it more likely that those aims will be delivered, and […]

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Articles

Adequacy Shanty

Inspired by Gavin Freeguard’s National Data Strategy Sea-Shanty, and in homage to the shanty-makers (I’ve worked the North Atlantic on small ships), here’s my “Adequacy Shanty”… Farewell and adieu to you, fair Spanish data, Farewell and adieu to you data of Spain, For our UK law may be judg-ed inadequate, And we may never see […]

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Articles Tools

Navigating the Temptations of Data

It seems easy to come up with new ways we might re-use data we already have. But harder to work out, in advance, whether an idea is likely to be perceived as unethical, intrusive, or just creepy. In a recent paper – “Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea (of Data)” – I explored […]

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Presentations

Thinking with GDPR

[Based on a presentation for the NISO Plus conference, February 22-25, 2021] One thing it seems everyone knows about Europe is that we have a strong privacy law: the General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR. In this talk I’d like to get you viewing that not just as a law, but as a really useful […]

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Articles

Using Social Media: is it ethical?

In a chat at the DataMatters conference I was asked about the ethics of universities and colleges using social media providers to contact students. In breaking down that question, I think it illustrates a continuum: the more we interfere with individuals’ own choices of what and how to use, the more thinking we need to […]

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Articles

WHOIS access and the NIS2 Directive

The European Commission’s proposed update of the Network and Information Security Directive may revive discussions about access to WHOIS data. When a domain name is registered, contact details are typically requested for various purposes, including billing, administrative and technical questions. For most of the history of the DNS this ‘WHOIS’ data – including names, postal […]

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Articles

How to become an expert phish-spotter

We’ve all been trained how to spot phishing emails: check the sender address, hover over links to see where they go, etc. But that’s a lot of work and mental effort. And, given that most emails aren’t phish, almost all wasted. So can we do it better? A fascinating paper by Rick Wash looked at […]

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Peacasts

Thinking (using COVID-19) about location data

During the pandemic, a lot of ideas have come up – not just contact tracing! – where useful information might be derived from location data. It struck me that a selection of those might be an interesting illustration of how intrusiveness isn’t just about the data we use, but what we use it for. Here’s […]