All posts by Mel Shefford

With headlines frequently reporting large-scale cyber attacks, the UK’s cybersecurity measures – and their weaknesses – are under constant scrutiny and criticism. Yet many businesses fail to give sufficient priority to cybersecurity. The City of London Police Commissioner has claimed that businesses will not properly focus on cybersecurity until a cyber attack causes a major global company to cease trading. In the same speech, the Commissioner said that he believed the UK Government is doing “all it can” to address the threat. Defending against the menace of cyber attack cannot be achieved by any government on its own. The private sector and wider public sector will have to take their share of responsibility to help secure the digital resources of the UK. Nevertheless, it certainly helps the cause to have strong leadership from government. In this article we consider whether the UK Government really is doing all it can to promote the … Continue Reading ››
The Serious Crime Bill received Royal Assent on 3 March 2015. Now the Serious Crime Act 2015, it includes amendments to the Computer Misuse Act 1990 (“CMA”). As I reported in August 2014, the amendments are designed to address growing concerns that future cyber-attacks could have very serious consequences and ensure that the perpetrators can be prosecuted and appropriately punished. The amendments provide for the existence of a new offence in respect of unauthorised acts committed in relation to a computer which cause or create a risk of serious damage of a material kind. Damage of a material kind constitutes damage to human welfare or the environment in any place, or to the economy or national security of any country. Acts cause damage to human welfare only if they cause loss to human life; human illness or injury; disruption of a supply of money, food, water, energy or fuel; disruption … Continue Reading ››
With the awareness that future cyber-attacks could have very serious consequences, the Government has proposed amendments to the Computer Misuse Act 1990. In this post we look at the current offences under the Act as well as recent amendments proposed by the Serious Crime Bill. In August 2013, the outgoing US Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano gave a farewell speech in which she warned: “Our country will, at some point, face a major cyber event that will have a serious effect on our lives, our economy and the everyday functioning of our society.” Her message vocalised what governments, businesses and organisations around the world are well aware of: as we become increasingly reliant on technology, and as systems become even more interconnected and complex, the risk of a serious cyber-attack increases. And whilst we currently associate cyber-attacks with access to personal data and damage to commercial interests, in the future the … Continue Reading ››

The opportunities and risks involved in exploiting consumers' personal data are the subject of much coverage at the moment. But what about the commercial potential of the vast data sets being made available by the public sector? Datonomy shares some observations.

Some of the Datonomy crew attended a Westminster eForum conference earlier in the month which had as its theme "policy priorities for user data". Datonomy was particularly interested to hear one of the speakers, Professor Nigel Shadbolt, talk about the open government data initiative. The initiative is supported by a new independent organisation which is funded by the Technology Strategy Board, the Open Data Institute, which the Professor chairs with Sir Tim Berners-Lee as president.

The initiative – which involves publishing anonymised government data – was announced in November 2011 by George Osbourne and can be seen as part of a general drive for transparency in government which … Continue Reading ››