Guest blog written by freelancer Sarah Einig.
On Tuesday, the FieldHouse team went down to the magnificent BAFTA building to support Innotech for their latest summit on privacy, data and policy in the digital economy. The most recent in the series of summits brought hackers, MP’s, lawyers, a lot of techies and even the Mayor of London together to discuss key issues affecting the digital economy today.
The afternoon kicked off with a video showcasing the amazing Founders4Schools Appathon UK, a Silicon Valley comes to the UK initiative - all about how creative children can be with their ideas for apps. Founders4Schools also hooked up with our client, educational software developers Kuato Studios to help motivate and inspire these students. It was so great to see the children’s imaginations run wild and that this is just one of the steps in place to help inspire children and ultimately fill the digital skills gap that faces the future. Sherry Coutu then came to the stage to talk more about the Appathon and the amazing work Founders4Schools is doing. about Appathon UK to encourage kids of all ages from 1-101 across the UK to learn to code and brainstorm some amazing app ideas.
Next, Act 1, Tech vs a Lifetime in Jail, proved to be a lively discussion, looking at the ethics of hacking and the role of the government in legislating and prosecuting. The blend of panelists was fascinating and allowed for a real breadth of conversation, especially having former Lulszec member, Mustafa Al Bassam sat next to Barrister, Lord Alex Carlile. The panelists discussed the threat to hackers of long jail sentences and the role of prosecutorial discretion and then opened up the floor to questions from the audience. The audience were clearly very engaged with this topic, in some members it provoked a lot of questions and quizzing directed at the panel - especially from a number of lawyers.
The audience were then given an introduction to the NewAer Proximity Platform by it’s founder Dave Matthews. Essentially it is a pretty cool lightweight, low power client and hosted server side engine that adds presence events within mobile applications. NewAer also empowers the next generation of context aware applications without the use of beacons. After the demonstration, the new kid on the block, Jamie Woodruff came to stage. There is no doubt about it, this kid is one of a kind, he’s an ethical hacker and a Certified Penetration Tester: which basically means he looks for flaws in major corporation’s websites – tells them about it whilst he keeps it secret from the public domain for 30 days. If they don’t sort the flaw within this time, then he has right to expose it - simples. Jamie manages to capture the attention of the entire summit - showing people some of the tools that he uses in hacking and how people can protect themselves. Watching him do this was truly fascinating, as was his “tech speak” being translated by Dave Matthews!!
Act II was chaired by Jim Knight and looked at what rights corporate giants have to own and use our personal data. This was another lively discussion, kicked off by panel members including – Jamie Saunders, Russ Shaw, Guy Levin and Jamie Woodruff all looking at whether any form of privacy does exist anymore and who should and shouldn’t have a right to see our personal data. A common theme of this discussion was how corporations use our personal data and should the small print be easier to decipher so we are not signing away our rights without really knowing exactly what we are agreeing to.
The afternoon could not end without an appearance from none other than Boris Johnson, Mayor of London. Boris arrived and in his usual way captured the attention of everyone in the audience. Boris talked about the importance of filling the digital skills gap that faces the UK in the future and the importance of fighting cybercrime in the UK. There was of course an opportunity for some snaps with Boris, followed by some very good canopees and an even more impressive cyber security themed cake!!
Congrats Jennifer, congrats Innotech, another cracking event, tackling one of the key issues currently facing the economy,head on.