"Cyber secure: Who will own and protect online intelligence in the future?" - Next Big Thing

Past Event

22 April 2013, 7:30pm - 8:45pm

Policy Exchange
The Ideas Space, Clutha House, 10 Storey's Gate, London, SW1P 3AY

NB Tbanner

This London-based event is a collaboration between the Oxford Martin School, Policy Exchange
and Nesta

Please note change of date for this event

More and more data on our daily activities is captured in email systems, CCTV, GPS on smartphones and social networks. And the security services are leading the way developing ways to evaluate this complex data: using gait recognition to identify individuals and sentiment analysis to understand the tone of online communication. As these techniques become more widespread, it won’t be just defence experts who have access to these tools. Local Authorities, banks or even neighbours could monitor activity, whilst also exasperating our vulnerabilities to cyber crime.

The controversial Communications Bill published by Theresa May’s Home Office in summer 2012 included new plans for monitoring the where, what and how of all UK citizen online activity. Yet if a few teenage hackers from Essex can tap into the CIA’s website, what confidence do we have in the governments’ capacity to keep our privacy information secure? Against this backdrop, this is a time to explore some of the privacy issues that the Bill throws up in the context of longer-term challenges in managing cyber security and monitoring techniques. The governance of cyber space is increasingly beyond the control of national borders, so what activities or policies are needed to help protect our online activities and personal data from malicious attack or manipulation? And is it even possible?

This event looks at some of the sophisticated and fast-evolving techniques in online intelligence in the context of broader questions of cyber governance and security:

  • What sorts of monitoring techniques are out there? And how different are those used by the government, versus big businesses?
  • How do different of monitoring interoperate? What kind of ‘picture’ does this build up? And why should we care?
  • As our lives are increasingly online, do citizens really know what they are consenting to, and how vulnerable are we as a result?
  • What benefits will be drawn from legislation such as the Communications Bill, and is it worth the risk?
  • Realistically, how governable is cyber space? Can we ever be fully cyber secure, and what are the trade-offs for such security? Is more monitoring within the UK really the answer?


  • Professor Sadie Creese, Co-Director, Institute for the Future of Computing, Oxford Martin School and Professor of Cyber Security, University of Oxford
  • Peter Jopling, Business Unit Executive, IBM Security Solutions
  • Richard Thompson, former Chief Constable of the Civil Nuclear Constabulary

Chair: Chris Yiu, Head of Digital Government, Policy Exchange

Join in on Twitter - #nextbigthing

For more information and booking a seat, please visit www.eventbrite.com/event/5439437504