The overall theme for the Third TRILCon was 'Information is Power'. The event was part of Research and Engagement Week 2016, the annual showcase of the University's research and engagement activity (find out more).
Big Brother Watch was founded in 2009 with the intention of exposing the true scale of the surveillance state. Renate joined Big Brother Watch as Chief Executive in November 2014. She is former Chief of Staff to Rt Hon David Davis MP with whom she worked for five years predominantly on his civil liberties campaigns such as the Snoopers Charter, NHS data sharing, protection for whistleblowers, Reform Section 5 and the DRIP Bill. Prior to working in Parliament, Renate produced documentaries for the BBC, ITV, Sky and other international broadcasters.
Professor Sir David Omand GCB
Sir David Omand was the first UK Security and Intelligence Coordinator, responsible to the Prime Minister for the professional health of the intelligence community, national counter-terrorism strategy and “homeland security”. He served for seven years on the Joint Intelligence Committee. He was Permanent Secretary of the Home Office from 1997 to 2000, and before that Director of GCHQ.
The theme: ‘Information is power’
“Knowledge is power. Information is power. The secreting or hoarding of knowledge or information may be an act of tyranny camouflaged as humility.”
The flow of information can be fundamental to building trust, assessing risks, understanding rights and enforcing law. Information (Big and small) can enable consumers to understand how their personal data will be shared: a social worker to identify a child at risk of abuse; the police to make a connection between a terrorist and a ‘clean skin’. There are those who would argue that all information, including personal and even sensitive data, should be shared more freely and openly, and that risks of doing so are overstated.
However, an aspect of power is control, an ability to decide when, how and with whom information should be disclosed. Technology has given power to some and taken it away from others, yet could technology contribute to restoring an information balance? And how does the law need to change in order to address the power of information in this technological age?
Both the Information Commissioner’s Office and the UK’s Digital Catapult worked with the 2016 TRILCon organisers to oversee and chair workshops/breakout sessions.
The conference was open to policy-makers, practitioners, academics and postgraduate students and in particular those working in Local and Central Government, law, computer science & technology, data science, information rights, privacy, compliance, statistics, probability, law enforcement & justice, behavioural science and health and social care.
Speakers were invited to submit their paper for inclusion in a special edition of the Law Department's newly launched open-access eJournal Information Rights, Policy & Practice. This journal will encourage discussion of issues faced by those in policy and practice, for instance regarding the regulation of information sharing. The first issue was published in spring 2016. Find out more about the journal.