'Fake news', the Dark Net and politics and the digital future under the spotlight at University of Winchester conference

27 Mar 2018

A major conference hosted by the University of Winchester next month will see lawyers, computer scientists, academics and policy makers explore the impact of digital technologies and Big Data on the political process.

In the wake of scrutiny of Cambridge Analytica's role in the 2016 US Presidential elections and its alleged use of unauthorised Facebook profile data, the fifth annual Winchester Conference on Trust, Risk, Information and the Law (TRILCon) will also debate other topical issues such as the Dark Net and its consequences for the constitution, and how algorithms are used in the public sector.

Ahead of the conference on 25 April, Marion Oswald, Director of the University's Centre for Information Rights, said: "The responsible and ethical use of Big Data and technologies such as social media and algorithmic tools is crucial and the conference is an opportunity for a multi-disciplinary debate around these issues. Research into information rights at Winchester is gaining an increasingly high profile in the UK and is helping to shape public discourse beyond the traditional academic community."

Keynote speakers are Chief Constable Michael Barton, Durham Constabulary, who has recently spoken about the need to regain 'sovereignty' over the Internet, and Jamie Bartlett, expert on the Dark Net and underground internet activities and Director for the Centre for the Analysis of Social Media for Demos. Jamie is the author of several books including Radicals and The Dark Net.

The conference also sees the launch of the University's new Centre for Parliament and Public Law, with a presentation by Nick Dodd, of the Digital and Tech Policy Directorate of the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, on the Government's ongoing work in the area of data governance and innovation.

Headed by Dr Craig Prescott, the new Centre's focus is the whole range of constitutional and public law issues, ranging from parliamentary procedure and reform - for example English Votes for English Laws - human rights, Brexit, devolution, and the monarchy.

Dr Prescott said: "Brexit has plunged politics into a state of flux. It is critical that the response of the UK's parliamentary democracy and broader constitution is addressed by politicians, commentators, academics, and the public. The Centre will contribute to this need."

The Winchester Conference on  Trust, Risk, Information and the Law (TRILCon 2018) takes place on Wednesday 25 April at the Holiday Inn, Morn Hill, Winchester S022 1HZ. The Conference programme is available to download here: TRILCon18 programme of events and bookings can be made online at www.winchester.ac.uk/trilcon

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