Thursday, 18 April 2013

It lives...

It has been far too long since my last post on here, almost an entire year(!). After a great time as a research assistant at the University of Strathclyde for a little while, I then moved and started as a PhD researcher last September at the University of Nottingham Horizon Digital Economy Centre. This centre focuses on the range of social and technical issues surrounding the digital economy, ubiquitous computing and the 'lifelong contextual footprint'. I've been increasing my multidisciplinary credentials beyond IT law by studying human computer interaction, creating maps in geospatial information services, basic programming in Java, learning qualitative techniques and quantitive statistics, building mobile apps and even considering philosophy of technology in science and technology studies.

Given all these new ideas buzzing around, I've felt the increasing urge to revise the Mooseabyte blog. I used to really enjoy doing fuller freelance blog pieces for Naked Security, but of late I've struggled to do these, so I hope these shorter commentaries here might satisfy in the interim. That is not to say I haven't been writing... I recently did a piece for the Society of Computers and Law called "The Aerial Gaze - Regulating Domestic Drones in the UK". Perhaps unsurprisingly it considers the range of issues posed for effective regulation of civilian UAV's operating in UK airspace. It maps out a tentative legal framework drawing on channels that address privacy, surveillance and air safety concerns. If this sounds of interest, you can read the full article here It builds on earlier presentations where I outlined the issues at the University of Edinburgh SCRIPT Conference, and GikII 2012, which was hosted by the University of East Anglia at their London campus. I'll be presenting again at a "Spy in the Sky" conference at the University of Ljubljana next month with my talk "Smile - drones operating overhead" I also have a couple of other pieces I've been working on including one entitled "European Data Protection Reform and digital memories of objects", which I'm hoping to develop further.

I was at BILETA 2013 at the end of last week and had a great time catching up with other IT law researchers - albeit whilst I was plagued by a cold(!). It was extensively live tweeted by many at the event and you can see these messages if you search the #Bileta13 hashtag. I listened to many fascinating sessions on the future of cyberlaw, issues with developing a Liverpool smart city, data protection and big data, drones and international humanitarian law, ethics of autonomous systems, why the ICO is an (in)adequate regulator, the US FISA law and surveillance in the cloud... the list goes on! There was an interesting talk with qualitative and quantitive results from the CONSENT FP7 project with discussion consumer attitudes to online privacy and consent. Results are here, and worth checking out. I always really enjoy these conferences as they provide intellectual reinvigoration, and they let me re-calibrate with the IT law community, which is important as I'm no longer based in a law school environment.
Another highlight of the year thus far was during early 2013, I had the pleasure of attending the Living in Surveillance Societies (LiSS) /Centre for Research in Information, Surveillance and Privacy (CRISP) doctoral training school. This week long event involved lots of workshops, seminars and activities led by leading academics from the field of surveillance studies. I met some fantastic people, and it confirmed my conviction that I wanted to incorporate a significant 'surveillance studies' angle into my PhD research (which will be looking at effective governance of privacy and surveillance in ubiquitous computing environments).

So despite my lack of virtual activity at least I've been far from virtually inactive...(sounded better in my head)

Also two humorous snippets from TV shows I've been watching which have a vague law/tech/privacy theme - the first from the wonderful Parks and Recreation, with Ron Swanson discovering cookies...then Google Earth -

The second is from Scotland's own Limmy's Show with a funny sketch about User Agreements.

Enjoy :)