2016 Turing Lecture – The Internet Of Me, You and Us

schukai-237As now seems to be an annual ritual, last week I headed over to the School of Engineering at Cardiff University for the annual BCS / IET Turing Lecture. This year was the turn of Robert Schukai MBE, Head of Applied Innovation at Thomson Reuters.

The 2016 Turing Lecture was entitled “The Internet of Me: It’s All About My Screens.” It promised a look at how smartphones have revolutionised life, and the information challenge of constantly processing so much data.

Continue reading

Too much information?

Over the past week or so I’ve been personally exposed to cross media spam, in addition to an ongoing, tedious issue with my mobile operator, 3UK, which leads to inaccurate SMS notifications telling me I’ve reached my fair use data limit.

(My evidently premature gushing praise of their customer service now seems a false dawn.)

This spam blitz has occurred during the height of controversial bunfight de jour that is Spinvoxgate. It’s caused idle speculation about the sheer volume and density of information out there.

Are we heading towards a point of critical mass or seminal data rift? Is it becoming increasingly naïve to implicitly trust new consumer technologies, and their management of our data?

Or is this merely paranoia and a bit Daily Mail?

Less contentious is that as technology gets sexier, diversifies, converges and attracts more users, the need for effective and transparent regulation will become evermore critical.

Fears of regulatory duplication with Ofcom’s recent PRS Scope Review and PhonepayPlus’s consultation around their 12th Code Of Practice could evoke the riposte that there will always be a degree of duplication in large organisations. Ok, but public facing material which, by its very nature, is dynamic and open to industry consultation?

To these concerns I recently added a consumer misgiving. A spate of phantom phone calls from 01873742136 and 01970 801068 were instantly terminated upon my answering and didn’t accept returned calls. But may have reverse billed me for the pleasure of trying.

Where to go? There is no prominent direction or instruction about how to make such a simple complaint on either the Ofcom or PhonepayPlus site. If you look hard, there’s a low level link to the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) as this is technically an Information Commissioner issue. Next steps from there aren’t simple, motivation slowly withers and dies.

How many bodies are there then? How many must consumers deal with? How many of them have the power to actually do anything?

The UK needs a regulatory tidy up of the kind being promised by David Cameron, the likely new incumbent of Number 10. It’s no easy one to fix of course, but his touted overhaul of Ofcom and address of consumer interests will be one to watch.

For the technology pie to continue feeding as many mouths as possible it’s critical for regulation to reflect the convergence of technology. An unfathomable number of regulatory quangos with slightly different remits doesn’t help the consumer, and arguably presents more loopholes than it tightens.

There will always be a cancerous pocket of chancers out to make a fast buck. Regulatory blur and infinitely swelling information fizzing across platforms won’t make their lives harder.

_____

Moans in more detail

01873742136 and 01970 801068 have voice spammed me four times in five days.

One of the first relevant search hits was this unofficial spam reporting site, which revealed that I was not alone in my complaint and at least offered the satisfaction of instant reporting.

I had my hotmail address spoofed and messages sent to my contacts as if from me, appealing for them to sign-up to a website. Unfortunately my Father did, using his business email address, so is now potentially at risk.

The subject line was: “dont miss this!”
The body of the message said “dont miss this check out stikkso.com”

Beware

After originally praising their level of service, 3UK appears not to have fixed the SMS notifications I receive which incorrectly tell me I have reached the fair usage limit of my data allowance. My latest message came roughly three days into my new bill period, when my browsing sessions must have amounted to about five minutes.