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Newsletter July

Newsletter July

5th July 2017


Monday 3rd July 2017

Dear supporter,

Welcome to our last newsletter before parliament rises for summer recess on the 20th of July. Read on for more information on parliamentary activity, our events and data analytics news…

Data Analytics News

What better place to start than the general election result, which came just 3 days after our last monthly newsletter? We opened the last newsletter by summarising the manifesto commitments of the Conservative and Labour parties, however with the unexpected result of a hung parliament, we now find ourselves in a very different political landscape. As the Chief Exec of Policy Connect, Jonathan Shaw, set out in a message to APGDA members, this must be interpreted as a “power grab for MPs”. With every vote in parliament set to be close, the government and opposition must now work together on a cross-party basis to pass legislation and individual parliamentarians’ votes matter more now than ever. The APGDA look forward to working with our cross-party coalition of parliamentarians and industry members to develop consensus-based ‘Big Data’ policy over the coming months and years!Data encryption is currently one of the most debated issues in data analytics. The meeting of the political heads of ‘Five Eyes’, the intelligence sharing alliance, in Ottawa predictably added fuel to the fire. The Australian delegation publicly statedits ambition to ‘thwart the encryption of terrorist messaging’. This statement led to concern being voiced by data protection organisations and caused the Electronic Frontier Foundation to delineate what an anti-encryption regime could look like. The controversy is fierce because of the trade-off involved: Some states and organisations see encryption as an obstacle to the identification and persecution of criminals and terrorists in cyberspace. This is the view enshrined in the British Conservative manifesto and leading members of the Five Eyes Alliance. Other states and political organisations, such as Germany and the EU, have strengthened the laws underwriting encryption of messaging services and other communications. Their reasoning is that backdoors are impossible to monitor and grant access to anyone in possession of the key, as happened in the ‘WannaCry’ cyber-attack last month.For a detailed account of data analytics provisions in the party manifestos, read our policy briefing.Cyber-attacks occurred on a global scale this month. And no, we did not accidentally send you last month’s newsletter, but there is a certain sense of Groundhog Day where cyber security is concerned. For those of you who have not followed past Cyber-attacks in great detail, CNN Money provides a useful background read. At the time of writing, there is continued uncertainty about the country of origin of the threat, assuming it is nation-state driven at all. The prime suspects under scrutiny are North Korea and Russia. The ultimate objective of these recurrent waves of attacks is equally difficult to decipher (pardon the pun). Research by the Guardian suggested previous cyber-attacks raised as little as £ 20.000, making financial gain an unlikely primary objective. This view is supported by an article on the BBC website, arguing that the current variant of the malware, termed ‘Petya’, exhibit features designed to ‘wipe’ data rather than hold it ransom. Some news outlets took this as circumstantial evidence that the Russian government used the global scope of these attacks as a smoke screen for a concerted attack on Ukrainian infrastructure targets. Growing concern over cyber-attacks in the UK business community has reached new heights in recent weeks, increasing fears over negative spill over effects on overall economic growth. These concerns are reinforced by recent reports suggesting that this latest variant does not have a kill switch, meaning it could plague cyberspace for months to come.For a detailed account of the means and ends of cyber-attacks, see our policy briefing on the subject. 


In case you missed our ‘Big Data and FinTech’ event at the House of Lords on the 20th of June, find a brief summary of the highlights here

Upcoming Events

The APGDA will host a Cyber Security roundtable in September. For a more detailed account of the policy implications of cyber security, read our cyber security briefing. Our roundtable will focus on the following topics:

  • Liability for data theft: current vs. desirable rules
  • How to improve security of public service digital infrastructure
  • Product regulatory approaches
  • Economic incentives for software developers to take cyber security seriously
  • Encryption: Solution or government dilemma?
  • Technical solutions

 Cyber security has come to the forefront of public attention relatively recently, when rising numbers of cyber-attacks, such as data theft, large scale bot attacks and attacks by ransomware on companies and public institutions were recorded. The most prominent of these was the global cyber-attack using the ‘WannaCry’ ransomware virus in May 2017. This has brought the potential enormous damage that cyber-attacks can cause to the forefront and forced a re-think among policy makers. It is time to take cyber security seriously, and the APGDA looks to make a significant contribution to shaping the debate by hosting an event featuring an expert panel featuring industry leaders and policy makers. The event will focus on ways to enhance cyber security in the public and the private sector. 

In parliament…

Who could forget the moment when her Majesty delivered the Queens’ Speech to parliament in what many observers thought was an EU themed outfit. Although the speech was both short and rather thin on detail, it contained two significant provisions for data analytics. Over the next two years, Theresa May’s administration announced its intention to pass new data protection legislation, with a view to ‘ensure that the United Kingdom is the safest place to be online’. The other important provision was the announcement of a digital charter

News in brief…


Dr. George Benjamin Analytics Policy Connect CAN Mezzanine32-36 Loman Street Southwark, LondonSE1 0EH020 7202


Dr. George DibbAll-Party Parliamentary Group on Data AnalyticsPolicy ConnectCAN Mezzanine32-36 Loman StreetSouthwark,LondonSE1 0EH020 7202



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