Tag Archives: Privacy

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Digital Rights Europe 2015

Digital Rights Europe 2015

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Digital Rights Europe 2015 Speakers

Brian Honan – “Organisational Security”

In an ever increasingly connected world we entrust our private information to the companies that we deal with, both online and offline. Yet, the newspaper headlines regularly highlight security breaches where this information is being exposed and compromised. In this talk Brian will highlight the main issues behind some of the recent high profile attacks and what companies and organisations should be doing better in order to better protect the personal data that we entrust to them.

Elizabeth Fitzgerald – “Ethics & Technology in Law Practice”

These days, practising law without using technology is almost impossible. Do lawyers have a professional duty to keep their IT competence up to date? How do lawyers ensure they are not inadvertently breaching client confidentiality?

Elizabeth Knight – “UK Digital Surveillance and Human Rights”

The Snowden disclosures revealed the vast extent of the UK intelligence agencies’ surveillance activities. They also demonstrated that the UK’s legislative framework and oversight system are inadequate. This talk will outline how the UK’s current activities violate the right to privacy and the reforms that could rectify the problem.

Fergal Crehan – “Ireland as a Digital Privacy Powerhouse”

Ireland, as European home to Google, Facebook, Twitter and others, has a “data population” far in excess of its relatively small physical population. No matter where you may happen to live, your social media accounts – and therefore your personal data – live in Dublin. As a result, the privacy rights of millions of people fall to be guaranteed under Irish law.

Joseph Dalby – “Eyes-in-the-sky: Drones, Data and Privacy”

Technological advances in unmanned aircraft for recreational and commercial use, coupled with the availability of smaller and higher definition video cameras, heralds a huge increase in the ability to document real-world personal lives and commercial activities, not seen since the advent of CCTV. These “eyes in the sky” have the potential to give even the most casual snooper the ability to be far more discerning in his target, and far more revealing in his output; all broadcast online.

Linda Scales – “The Database Right: Under the Radar of Reform”

The so-called sui generis database right was introduced in Europe in 1996. It was intended that it would be a model right, to be harmonised at international level by a treaty. This has never happened however, and so it remains, somewhat marooned, as a uniquely European right. The presentation will review the database cases and will show, against the background of the copyright reform agenda in Europe, why it is odd that the database right has remained below the radar.

Simon McGarr – “Leveraging Litigation in Pursuit of Digital Rights”

Digital Rights are really the extension of long standing human rights applied into the digital sphere, far from the political mainstream. And, as has historically been the case, the guardians of digital human rights are the Courts. But, in order to give a court an opportunity to decide on where the protections of digital rights should start and end, they must be given a case to decide.

TJ McIntyre – “Internet Filtering and Blocking”

Over the last decade, internet blocking has gone from being an abstract risk to an established reality in most European countries. Blocking of websites at the behest of the copyright industry is the best known example, but it is increasingly being matched by demands for blocking of more categories (such as pro-anorexia and “extremist” websites) whether or not that material is legal.

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“eCulture” A New Mission

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With a recent refresh of the website and refocusing of what eCulture Solutions was about I thought it was would be good to try and define succinctly a mission, for which I have arrived at…

“To facilitate the exploitation of digital innovation, supporting delivery of positive and inclusive social and business transformation.”

 The pace of technology innovation and digital inclusion is increasing at a significant rate and societies the world over, are transitioning to an digitally orientated way of life as governments and institutions adopt digital ways of engaging in preference over existing methods. Societies are entering the “eCulture” digital age .

 The measure of success in the development of eCulture, will come down to how well society manages to establish “mutually supporting communities” in a digital context.

It is early days, and so as organisations and business start out on their respective eCulture transitions I thought it would be helpful to offer some guidance on what could be key considerations.


Government, public sector and allied third party service transformation delivered by preference for engagement between service providers and users to becoming wherever possible, a digital process, is presently focused by the premise that this will deliver much needed efficiency gains and cost savings.

UK Government business case estimates presently suggest that transactions online can already be 20 times cheaper than by phone, 30 times cheaper than postal, and as much as 50 times cheaper than face-to-face.

Success however, will not be achieved with this focus alone. Efficiency gains and savings can only be realised by wide scale adoption, that in turn will only be secured by service redesign that delivers mutual benefits to service users, largely recognised by them as improvements in efficiency, effectiveness and / or quality of the service.

Digital Exclusion

Face FrownThere is however something that is fundamentally new in this evolution to eCulture status, on the basis that until now, any digital project concerning the engagement of service users, with notably these being largely commercial ventures, has qualified requirements and measures of success in business plans / profit and loss forecasts, on the basis of focusing engagement on a digitally “included” demographic.

By contrast a key distinguishing factor in the transition to the ‘eCulture’ age, is the social development focus on digital – for example job adverts and applications and critically public services, such as benefits and health and social care services, which for those that remain digitally “excluded”, the prospect of social exclusion and increasing poverty are of serious concern.

Digital exclusion is defined as: 

  1. Access – the inability to actually go online and connect
  2. Skills –  inability to use online solutions
  3. Motivation – not having a personal reason making use a good thing
  4. Trust – loss of privacy, or victim of online crime

Consequently overcoming the digital exclusion challenges is of greater concern to government, public sector and allied third party provider projects. Because the target demographic for online public services is the poor, elderly, frail and socially excluded, these representing the greatest proportion of citizens making most use of public and allied third party services, that unfortunately are also the greatest proportion that are ‘individually’ digitally excluded.

Additional Missed Business Opportunity

In the UK, recent research published by the BBC has found that 21% of UK’s population lack the basic digital skills and capabilities required to realise the benefits of the Internet.

Around a third of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) don’t have a website, and voluntary, community and social enterprises (VCSEs), a great many of which represent the allied third parties supporting public service provision, this figure rises to 50%. Independent analysts estimate full digital take up could add £63 billion value to the UK economy alone!

Digital Inclusion

GraphOf 7 billion people, around 40% of the world population has an Internet connection. In 1995, it was less than 1%. The number of Internet users has increased tenfold from 1999 to 2013. The first billion was reached in 2005, the second in 2010, the third will be reached by the end of 2014.

In 2013 in the UK, 89% of young people now use a smartphone or tablet to go online, up from 43% in 2010. At the end of 2013, global smartphone penetration had exploded from 5% of the global population in 2009, to 22%. That’s an increase of nearly 1.3 billion smartphones in four years.

Tablets are showing faster adoption rates than smartphones. It took smartphones nearly four years to reach 6% penetration from when the devices first started to register on a global level. Tablets accomplished this in just two years.

eCulture on a Mission

face-smileSo in conclusion eCulture, is to help the organisations develop their digital skills and understanding of how technology innovation can be utilised operationally to increase the benefits they are able to deliver to their service users, and in the process of engagement help organisations to reach the digitally excluded through the many digitally included. 

After all almost everybody will have a family members, carers, friends or benevolent neighbours that are digitally included……

“their digital community”

A noble quest wouldn’t you agree?

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We should be thanking social networking providers?

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Staff and organisation culture has often been identified to be an inhibiting factor of efforts to develop public sector information governance capability ans standards.

Some suggest cultural issues stem from the fact that the majority of the workforce has had to adapt and learn to use computers and information systems, largely on evolved basis of trial and error?

Training historically has focused on addressing the “hands on” use of the technology only, it is only recently that a greater focus has given to developing a greater social understanding of the implications i.e. governance and privacy concerns.

Social Networking

Looking ahead the new social networking generation of school leavers coming into the workplace, is likely to have a profound and positive effect on culture, in regard to staff being more acutely aware of the social implications of technology, and thus the value of supporting development of information governance capability.

Equally this same generation of new service users, will likely challenge organisations like no other before it, to demonstrate that their data and privacy is being managed properly. We should expect an increase in Data Protection Act “subject access requests”, as this generation matures into concerning adults!

Education and Maturity

For this we have to thank those that have supported making investment to secure mainstream use of technology in our education system, leading to the subsequent production of this computer literate element of society.

But I think we should reserve our greatest thanks for the social networking sites that have arguably made the greatest contribution towards the development of concerns and awareness of privacy issues, taking this generation beyond computer literate, to perhaps becoming technology savvy.

However, should we not also be concerned that development of societies awareness and appreciation of information governance and privacy still appears to be on a trial and error basis?



Have a digital project idea you would like help with, then check out our services available from eCulture Solutions