Privacy vs mass surveillance: an ongoing battle

In today’s age of surveillance capitalism, personal data has become a highly valuable asset. Whilst the Big Tech companies such as Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple have been long scrutinised on their role in the Big Data Economy and their handling of users’ data, concerns about government surveillance have recently surged across the globe.

Getty Images. GETTY

Surveillance capitalism is a term commonly used to denote a market-driven process where the commodity for sale is your personal data. It centres around companies that provide us with free online services — Google and Facebook, for example — whereby through the mass surveillance of the internet, they gather information from individuals.

Through the collection of online behaviours, such as likes, dislikes, searches, social networks, and purchases, these companies produce data that can be further used for commercial and even political purposes. And this is often done without us understanding the full extent of the surveillance.

The revelations from last year’s Cambridge Analytica scandal highlighted the extent to which internet companies survey an individual’s online activity. Cambridge Analytica’s actions broke Facebook’s own rules by collecting and selling data under the pretence of academic research, possibly violating the election law in the United States.

Despite the questionable nature of Cambridge Analytica’s actions, the bigger players and leading actors in surveillance capitalism, Facebook and Google, are still legally amassing as much information as they can, making huge profits in the process.

The scandal prompted significant questions over privacy concerns, raising the importance of discussions on ethical data surveillance and ethical data handling. Recent research shows that the private sector is not the only body in question when it comes to data surveillance and ethical data handling.

American market research and advisory company Forrester Researcher announced in a recent report that India has been named as a country with minimal restrictions in terms of data privacy and protection, where government surveillance is a cause of concern. China also featured in the report as a country with a high level of government surveillance.

“The government surveillance is a worldwide phenomenon that cuts across geographies, economic development, societal well-being, and institutional design, with alarming levels of government surveillance in countries such as Austria, Colombia, India, Kuwait and the UK,” the report said.

According to the 2019 Forrester Global Map of Privacy Rights and Regulations, “Regulations that allow governments to access personal data of citizens are still undermining the overall privacy protections that certain countries offer their citizens”

Lack of constitutional provisions to enable monitoring of government activity could be one of the primary reasons for the high level of government surveillance in India, industry experts say. Nonetheless, the surveillance practices may prove to be pervasive and not in line with the enforced data privacy laws, thus affecting data security of citizens.

Similarly, a new report by the Human Rights Watch (HRW) reveals the extent to which everyday behaviour in China’s Xinjiang region is monitored by the authorities, contributing to a regime of constant surveillance and mass detention. The report revealed how a mobile app used by these officials helps them collect vast amounts of personal data, prompting them to flag seemingly normal behaviour as suspicious.

The app was accessed by HRW’s Maya Wang when it became publicly available. Maya said that the app was most likely never supposed to be made public: ‘It was a careless mistake that prompted some of the people who have this app to put it online,’ she explains.

However, once accessed, they were able to reverse engineer it, revealing that under the excuse of a counter-terrorism policy called the ‘Strike Hard Campaign against Violent Terrorism’ the app was meant to fulfill the following functions: collect personal information, reporting on activities deemed suspicious, and prompting investigations of people the system flags as problematic.

It enabled the officials to collect an exhaustive amount of sensitive information on individuals including blood-type, digital records of their faces, height, car colour, ‘religious atmosphere’ and political affiliation. The report further details how the information is fed into a policing programme called the Integrated Joint Operations Platform (IJOP), one of the main systems Chinese authorities use for mass surveillance in Xinjiang. HRW findings suggest that every citizen in the region is subject to monitoring under this programme.

Qilai Shen | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The HRW report notes that many, if not all of these mass surveillance practices appear to contravene to Chinese law and have no clear relationship to terrorism or extremism monitoring. According to Wang, this huge surveillance effort by the ruling party comes down to retaining power. ‘I think the goal is to ensure that the party stays in power forever, which is challenging for them to do,’ she explains. ‘The shift to a market-based economy has meant that the party has lost some of the old tools for social control and so they decided that technology is going to be very good for them in achieving that purpose.’

Despite the difficulties, Wang suggest that the concerning levels of survelliance are not exclusive to China or a particular country: government surveillance is taking place all over the world.

‘There is no privacy in first world,’ she says. ‘Even if you’re in Europe or the US you have to be very worried about where your data is going or if it is protected.” This makes the inherent risk and potential for data abuse and breaches an increasingly relevant discussion.

Privacy vs mass surveillance: an ongoing battle

In today’s age of surveillance capitalism, personal data has become a highly valuable asset. Whilst the Big Tech companies such as Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple have been long scrutinised on their role in the Big Data Economy and their handling of users’ data, concerns about government surveillance have recently surged across the globe.

Getty Images. GETTY

Surveillance capitalism is a term commonly used to denote a market-driven process where the commodity for sale is your personal data. It centres around companies that provide us with free online services — Google and Facebook, for example — whereby through the mass surveillance of the internet, they gather information from individuals.

Through the collection of online behaviours, such as likes, dislikes, searches, social networks, and purchases, these companies produce data that can be further used for commercial and even political purposes. And this is often done without us understanding the full extent of the surveillance.

The revelations from last year’s Cambridge Analytica scandal highlighted the extent to which internet companies survey an individual’s online activity. Cambridge Analytica’s actions broke Facebook’s own rules by collecting and selling data under the pretence of academic research, possibly violating the election law in the United States.

Despite the questionable nature of Cambridge Analytica’s actions, the bigger players and leading actors in surveillance capitalism, Facebook and Google, are still legally amassing as much information as they can, making huge profits in the process.

The scandal prompted significant questions over privacy concerns, raising the importance of discussions on ethical data surveillance and ethical data handling. Recent research shows that the private sector is not the only body in question when it comes to data surveillance and ethical data handling.

American market research and advisory company Forrester Researcher announced in a recent report that India has been named as a country with minimal restrictions in terms of data privacy and protection, where government surveillance is a cause of concern. China also featured in the report as a country with a high level of government surveillance.

“The government surveillance is a worldwide phenomenon that cuts across geographies, economic development, societal well-being, and institutional design, with alarming levels of government surveillance in countries such as Austria, Colombia, India, Kuwait and the UK,” the report said.

According to the 2019 Forrester Global Map of Privacy Rights and Regulations, “Regulations that allow governments to access personal data of citizens are still undermining the overall privacy protections that certain countries offer their citizens”

Lack of constitutional provisions to enable monitoring of government activity could be one of the primary reasons for the high level of government surveillance in India, industry experts say. Nonetheless, the surveillance practices may prove to be pervasive and not in line with the enforced data privacy laws, thus affecting data security of citizens.

Similarly, a new report by the Human Rights Watch (HRW) reveals the extent to which everyday behaviour in China’s Xinjiang region is monitored by the authorities, contributing to a regime of constant surveillance and mass detention. The report revealed how a mobile app used by these officials helps them collect vast amounts of personal data, prompting them to flag seemingly normal behaviour as suspicious.

The app was accessed by HRW’s Maya Wang when it became publicly available. Maya said that the app was most likely never supposed to be made public: ‘It was a careless mistake that prompted some of the people who have this app to put it online,’ she explains.

However, once accessed, they were able to reverse engineer it, revealing that under the excuse of a counter-terrorism policy called the ‘Strike Hard Campaign against Violent Terrorism’ the app was meant to fulfill the following functions: collect personal information, reporting on activities deemed suspicious, and prompting investigations of people the system flags as problematic.

It enabled the officials to collect an exhaustive amount of sensitive information on individuals including blood-type, digital records of their faces, height, car colour, ‘religious atmosphere’ and political affiliation. The report further details how the information is fed into a policing programme called the Integrated Joint Operations Platform (IJOP), one of the main systems Chinese authorities use for mass surveillance in Xinjiang. HRW findings suggest that every citizen in the region is subject to monitoring under this programme.

Qilai Shen | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The HRW report notes that many, if not all of these mass surveillance practices appear to contravene to Chinese law and have no clear relationship to terrorism or extremism monitoring. According to Wang, this huge surveillance effort by the ruling party comes down to retaining power. ‘I think the goal is to ensure that the party stays in power forever, which is challenging for them to do,’ she explains. ‘The shift to a market-based economy has meant that the party has lost some of the old tools for social control and so they decided that technology is going to be very good for them in achieving that purpose.’

Despite the difficulties, Wang suggest that the concerning levels of survelliance are not exclusive to China or a particular country: government surveillance is taking place all over the world.

‘There is no privacy in first world,’ she says. ‘Even if you’re in Europe or the US you have to be very worried about where your data is going or if it is protected.” This makes the inherent risk and potential for data abuse and breaches an increasingly relevant discussion.

The two sides of Facebook’s crypto coin Libra

The launch of the cryptocurrency Libra announced by Facebook earlier this week has prompted many discussions about the future of finance, particularly the role of cryptocurrencies. The project has grabbed the attention of regulators all over the world, most of them calling for the project to be delayed or even scrapped.

In the crypto space, some experts have expressed their disapproval over a big tech company entering the area, while also acknowledging that the launch of Libra could be a tipping point in the history of blockchain.

On the latest FinancialFox, crypto PR guru Stefania Barbaglio interviewed On Yavin, CEO and founder of Cointelligence about his views on Libra. He is an angel investor and serial entrepreneur with more than 20 years of experience in the tech industry. A leading authority on cryptocurrency, he is also a data-driven strategist.

His company, Cointelligence, conducts data research and analysis for the crypto economy. Cointelligence was created to bridge the information gap in the crypto economy, and also offers professional due diligence and blockchain advisory services.

“The new Facebook coin is a fake cryptocurrency. They are calling it cryptocurrency because it is a buzzword. It may be a digital currency, but it is not a cryptocurrency. It is a crap coin,” says On Yavin.

On believes that Libra is not a real cryptocurrency because of three main factors:

- A Facebook digital currency will by definition be largely centralised.

- Facebook has a huge trust problem after its poor track record in securing its users’ personal data.

- Facebook is partnering with big companies such as Uber, Paypal, Vodafone and Visa to create Libra. In essence, this means that big corporations will continue to control the system and exploit users. “That is the opposite of what a cryptocurrency should be,” says On.

Libra might eventually have a financial value, he says, but the whole system sounds illegitimate and it does not represent a real cryptocurrency.

Libra could make crypto mainstream

Whilst Libra itself might sound like a poorly developed cryptocurrency, its impact on the cryptocurrency market is likely to be positive and could be the move needed to bring cryptocurrencies into the mainstream.

Regardless of the future of Libra, its launch has exposed huge numbers of people to cryptocurrencies and the world of blockchain. Because Facebook has now officially stepped in, crypto may start to be viewed as more serious and credible.

Up to this point, conversations about cryptocurrencies have been nearly exclusive to technologists. Now with the launch of Libra, Facebook is practically making cryptocurrency available to its two and a half billion users at once.

“I think that the positive side is that Libra will get so many people introduced to the new generation of digital payments and some of them will want to learn more about real cryptos like Bitcoin and Ethereum,” says On.

With the threat of disruption posed by a company the size and influence of Facebook launching a digital currency, regulators and central banks have started to look seriously at the crypto world, which could prompt much needed regulations of the market.

The launch of Libra means that the cryptocurrency market is bound to become more interesting for outside investors. Nevertheless, it is important for those entering the crypto space to be careful and carry out thorough research before putting down large amounts of money. We are still at the ‘young’ stage of the crypto market, so there are plenty of scams going around, which can easily lure eager investors into fraudulent projects.

On’s company Cointelligence helps to identify the most authentic projects and exchanges in crypto. Cointelligence found over 80–85% of crypto exchanges to be faking trading volume to get their rankings up on listing websites to increase revenue. “There’s very little transparency on crypto exchanges. This is misleading to investors,” says On. He warns users of different types of malicious actors around:

- Scammers: people who launch fake projects with the intention of stealing investors’ money

- ‘Mini scammers’: people who found crypto ventures quite genuinely, although the project is not feasible in reality and does not bring returns

- ‘Scamming neighbours’: the partners of a fake project, such as the publishers that advertise it and YouTubers and influencers who promote it

More developments are sure to unfold soon and whatever happens, the crypto market could be on its way to a great transformation. All eyes on Libra.

Watch the full interview here:

Facebook’s Libra sparks privacy and security concerns

On Tuesday, Facebook unveiled plans of launching its own digital currency, Libra, in the first half of 2020. Facebook’s stablecoin will let users shop and send money overseas with almost zero transaction fees.

Facebook has united forces with some of the major names in payment and e-services including Mastercard, PayPal, Uber, Visa, Spotify, eBay, and Vodafone, to form the 28-members Libra Association, based in Geneva. Facebook hopes to have. It is reported they expect to have 100 members by Libra’s launch, showing the ambition underlying its plans. The Libra currency will be stored on the e-wallet Calibra, which is being developed by Facebook. According to the company, the Calibra wallet will be available in Messenger, WhatsApp and as a standalone app.

In less than 24 hours, the project already raised great concerns as Libra is poised to become a global currency that could potentially challenge major fiat currencies such as the US dollar, as well as take down traditional financial institutions.

Having a centralised tech company like Facebook orchestrating the launch and system of a cryptocurrency goes against one of the core principles of digital currencies advocates: decentralisation. With 2.7 billion users, Facebook has constantly been a target for hackers and malicious actors, because of the value of its users’ data — it can become even worse holding large amounts of money.

Whilst a more detailed plan of how Libra is going to work, it is clear that it will have a significant impact over the current financial system, perhaps even become a major player, given the large influence of Facebook.

Questions over privacy of financial information have emerged to put into question Facebook’s credibility of managing a digital currency. Recalling the Cambridge Analytica scandal, which saw the hijack of 87 million users data, just a year ago, Facebook does not have a positive track record of securing users’ data and privacy — so quite understandably, there have been doubts about Zuckerberg’s firm dealing with people’s money. Facebook has constantly been a target for hackers and malicious actors.

“It’s difficult for me to see anyone who cares about privacy actually adopting this new offering, particularly given Facebook’s laughable record on respecting their users’ privacy choices,” cybersecurity expert Brian Krebs said to CNBC.

The lack of legal protection for users is another of the main worries about the Libra project. The sector of digital currencies is at the moment largely unregulated, justifying the concerns of having the tech giant Facebook entering the competition. So far, in the cryptocurrency realm, investors across the world have lost hundreds of millions of dollars through price volatility, crypto-exchange hacks and illegitimate projects. In 2018 alone, $1.7 billion in cryptocurrency was stolen through hacking.

The market has also faced money-laundering and terrorist-financing allegations. In light of these allegations, Facebook said that the Calibra system plans to conduct compliance checks on customers who want to sign up, using verification and anti-fraud processes that are common among banks.

According to Kevin Weil, who runs product for the Libra initiative, the project gives a chance for regulators around the world to bring their attention to cryptocurrencies and start creating mechanisms of regulating the system: “It gives us a basis to go and have productive conversations with regulators around the world,” he told Reuters. “We’re eager to do that.”

Cryptocurrency experts took to social media to express their concerns over what Facebook’s entry to the crypto space could mean.

“If you’re concerned with Facebook knowing too much or having too much access to your private data, Libra will give Facebook even more direct access to your financial information,” said Phil Chen, a cryptocurrency expert who pioneered HTC’s first blockchain smartphone to the Independent.

“It’s not just access to the information of your transactions, it’s direct access to your wealth and capital. If the top-line question about Facebook and antitrust is about whether to break it up and spin off the likes of WhatsApp and Instagram — well Libra is the most invasive and dangerous form of surveillance they have designed thus far. This will easily become the most dangerous antitrust case in history.”

The Libra project has proved to be worrying for lawmakers who were quick to reprimand the cryptocurrency. The project is suffering backlash from regulators and lawmakers in the US and Europe with urges for the project to be delayed or even paused.

“Given the company’s troubled past, I am requesting that Facebook agree to a moratorium on any movement forward on developing a crypto-currency until Congress and regulators have the opportunity to examine these issues and take action,” said US Democratic congresswoman Maxine Waters.

The French Finance Minister, Bruno Le Marie, has said that this new cryptocurrency cannot operate as a sovereign currency. The minister also stated that the Libra currency should be a matter of discussion on the upcoming G7 meeting with central bankers in July.

On the next FinancialFox, crypto expert Stefania Barbaglio will interview On Yavin, CEO and Founder of Coin Intelligence. Coin Intelligence conducts data research and data analysis for the crypto economy. On will be sharing insights about the latest developments of Facebook’s Libra and its impact on the crypto market.

Don’t miss our next episode live tomorrow!

Cassiopeia Data Series: Intersection of Data and Disruptive Technologies

In this Information Age, data has become one of the most valuable assets in society. Data is defined as pieces of information collected to be examined and considered, and used to help decision-making; or information in an electronic form that can be stored and used by a computer.

The Global Big Data market is expected to reach $118.52 billion by 2022, growing at an impressive rate of 26.0% from 2015 to 2022, which includes the aggregated value of data in different products and services. The main factors driving this trend upwards are growth in consumer data, superior information security, and enhanced business efficiencies.

The data market is vast and full of opportunities, especially for those developing and curating technology. The total number of data workers in the 28 EU countries is estimated at 6.1 million, a figure that could almost double by the year 2020 if growth keeps on at this pace. On top of this, the number of organisations producing and supplying data-related products and services could reach almost 350,000 in 2020, when the number of data users could be more than 1.3 million.

Data is a concept society is still trying to grasp, and the questions around its uses are numerous and complex — concerning data ownership, privacy and surveillance, among others. Data requires careful and ethical management, as once information is made available online, it rarely gets deleted, making it difficult to measure the consequences of misuse.

“You can’t make a data set disappear. Once you post it, and people download it, it exists on hard drives all over the world,” says researcher Adam Harvey, whose project Megapixels documented the details of dozens of data sets and how they are being used, to the FT.

It is important to note that data in itself has no beneficial or damaging features. What defines it are the applications and purposes which it serves. As disruptive technologies continue to evolve and digitisation becomes more widespread, the uses of data become increasingly more diverse.

A PwC study has identified the top eight disruptive technologies of today, which are the flagships of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and can dramatically change the way we do business: Artificial Intelligence (AI), Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, Blockchain, Internet of Things (IoT), Drones, 3D Printing and Robotics.

These are the core technologies that will matter most for business, across every industry, over the years to come. A stronger way to harness those technologies would be combining them to yield powerful applications that are even more beneficial and efficient.

From PwC, The Essential Eight

Each one of these technologies interacts with data in different ways: they have diverse functions. Ultimately, harnessing data is a fundamental part of this new wave of technology.

Internet of Things (IoT) collects data

In an Internet of Things (IoT) system, computing devices, mechanical and digital machines, objects, animals or people are all interrelated with the use of unique identifiers (UIDs), and with which they can collect and transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction.

IoT technology is used in the consumer, enterprise, industrial, and government market segments, each of which produce massive amounts of data, generally of the unstructured variety, requiring data technologies for management and processing.

This is where Artificial Intelligence enters the scene…

Artificial Intelligence (AI) processes and analyses data

With the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithms, we enhance the ability of big data analytics and IoT platforms to provide value to each of these market segments. AI algorithms can be trained to manage and process data according to certain standards. This feature turns raw data into meaningful information, which is then useful for decision-making purposes.

This chart shows forecasted cumulative global artificial intelligence revenue 2016–2025, by use case.

Blockchain stores and distributes data

In the blockchain realm, data and decentralisation enjoy a powerful relationship. Data can be fed into blockchain networks securely and privately, avoiding centralised storage. Blockchain can be used as the foundation for decentralised data storage providers.

Because of the architecture of blockchain networks, data stored on them is immutable and cannot be forged, making it a highly secure technology for preventing fraud.

The “essential eight” technologies are evolving rapidly, becoming increasingly more sophisticated and equally complex, also prompting questions around legislation and ethical uses of data. The scenario leaves plenty of room for further research and discussion about how technology can help drive society forward without compromising rights and principles.

Cassiopeia Services is a key partner and the official PR/Media representative of the World Ethical Data Forum (WEDF), a leading global organisation that embraces the full spectrum of interrelated issues around the use and future of data.

We are working with WEDF on its next Global Forum set to take place in London in 2020. Dates, venue and keynote speakers will be announced in due course.

For more information about how to get involved, drop us an email at cassiopeia@worldwthicaldata.org

Medicinal cannabis makes strides in the UK but access to treatment needs improvement

In November last year, the government announced the legalisation of medicinal cannabis in the UK for patients via NHS prescription. Since then, the UK’s medicinal cannabis market has boomed, attracting media attention and international investment.

The move prompted the opening of the UK’s first cannabis clinic in the Greater Manchester area earlier in March, offering treatments for patients suffering from chronic pain and other severe neurological or psychiatric conditions that can be treated with medical marijuana.

Even more unexpected sources have shown interest in entering the booming cannabis market: the FT has reported that the Church of England is considering investments in medical marijuana and relaxing existing bans. The CofE has a 12.6 billion pound investment portfolio.

On 24 January 2019, the Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO) sent a letter to the Secretary General of the United Nations recommending that cannabis and associated substances be rescheduled in the international drug control framework to facilitate the trade of these substances for medicinal and scientific purposes.

At least 30 countries and 33 US states have now legalised medicinal cannabis, a trend which continues to spread globally. Research by Prohibition Partners and the Davos World Economic Forum pointed towards Europe’s medical cannabis market doubling in size in 2019.

The European Union has been one of the institutions at the forefront of making medicinal marijuana available. Over two years ago, the German parliament approved the legalisation of cannabis for medicinal use. This marked the beginning of a Europe-wide wave of legalisation following in Germany’s footsteps.

In Germany, around 40,000 patients have already been prescribed cannabis-based prescription drugs, which amounted to more than 30 Million EUR revenues in the first half of 2018, making the country one of the three largest medical cannabis markets in Europe, along with the Netherlands and Italy.

Malta, one of the most innovative nations in Europe, has implemented some new laws and now allows the licensed growing and export of cannabis to other European countries.

The latest nation to embrace the opportunities offered by medicinal cannabis is Gibraltar. In a recent announcement, the government revealed it wants to establish a “world class ecosystem” for medicinal cannabis research in Gibraltar and will consider licensing “a select, highly reputable and well-resourced” group of investors in the sector.

While European countries seem to be progressing in the sector, eight months after formal legalisation, the reality does not quite match up to expectation. Patients in the UK are reportedly experiencing numerous problems accessing medicinal marijuana, as despite legislation being in place, the system is not yet fully responsive to patients’ needs.

Since the legalisation, many NHS patients have been denied access to cannabis treatments, blamed on slow bureaucracy. Official figures are not available but the number of NHS prescriptions has been low, perhaps less than 100, reported the Independent.

Currently in the UK, there is no dedicated medicinal cannabis regulatory system, making the drug harder to access. Cannabis products are only available on the NHS labelled as “specials”, which can only be prescribed after other types of treatment have been tried. The pharmacies distributing cannabis medical products also need a special licence, further narrowing the avenues of access.

These barriers highlight the lag between the different set of legislations involved in bringing cannabis-based medicines to the hands of patients. “We knew there would be a period where the education system needed developing for health professionals — but this has not yet been rolled out, and we don’t know how long it will take, or how responsive they will be,” said Henry Fisher, chief scientific officer at Hanway Associates, a cannabis consultancy firm, to Wired UK.

Nonetheless, this seems to be a common pathway countries go through when they change their regulation on the matter, until we bridge between policies and user access: “We’re hoping that individual doctors will prescribe, and see that once they’ve done it once, and it’s worked, so it’s a useful medicine. Then it will pick up: for example, in Germany, it took two or three years for the medical profession to catch up,” added Michael Barnes, a neurologist and cannabis expert.

Cassiopeia Services partners with World Ethical Data Forum

Cassiopeia Services Ltd., the innovative London-based PR/IR agency, is pleased to announce it has been chosen to manage the Public Relations, Media Partnerships and Sponsorships for the World Ethical Data Forum (WEDF), a leading global organisation that embraces the full spectrum of interrelated issues around the use and future of data.

Founded by Stefania Barbaglio in 2015, Cassiopeia is a global PR and IR agency with a strong focus on and experience in the new technology and innovation sector. Since 2017, Cassiopeia has focused on delivering strong communications strategies for companies and startups in the blockchain and technology sector. Stefania is a London based eclectic entrepreneur and well-recognised PR expert, presenter and speaker, international journalist and qualified blockchain strategist by the University of Oxford.

In 2018, the first edition of the WEDF in Barcelona, Spain brought together the most prominent data experts such as Julian Assange and Dr. Ralph Merkle. The streamed event received 2.4 million YouTube views in a single week.

WEDF is the single most important event in the worldwide data realm. In 2020, the WEDF will approach the intersecting questions around data use in the Information Age, diving into conversations on data analysis, use and regulation; data privacy; future of data and new technologies; fake news and responsible journalism; data intelligence/security intersection and censorship; and future of democracy. The date and venue will be announced in due course.

Data has become one of the most valuable assets in the global economy: as important a commodity as oil, according to specialists. In these times of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, data is the common factor underlying many technologies and shaping up the future of society. This unprecedented use of data urges the construction of new social, political and economic systems, which are better fitted to address the data economy.

Stefania Barbaglio, Director at Cassiopeia Services commented: “I am delighted to be working with the WEDF to promote their next edition. Cassiopeia is always at the forefront of innovation and we recognise the power of data and the revolution happening with development of data technologies. This also poses big ethical questions and challenges which require serious dialogue and practical solutions. The WEDF is the place for those discussions to happen.”

John David Marshall, CEO of the WEDF commented: “The issues we’re dealing with are so important historically that having the right team in place able to comprehend them and cope with the enormity of the challenges they present is vital. I’m looking forward to the work ahead, and to what we’ll accomplish together.”

For more information about how to get involved, please email stefania@worldethicaldata.org