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Tom Orrell, DataReady Limited & Al Kags, Open Institute

The declaration of the COVID-19 virus as a public health emergency of international concern on the 30th January 2020 by the World Health Organisation will be recorded in history as a defining moment of the 21st century.

The pandemic has already caused an enormous shock to governmental institutions and social norms around the world. In some cases, the knee-jerk response has been brutal and severe. For instance, as restrictive measures were brought in, South African police started using rubber bullets and whips to enforce lockdown. …


Five data governance rules to uphold in times of crisis

By Tom Orrell, Managing Director, DataReady Limited

Times of crisis require difficult trade-offs between competing public interests. In the present instance with Covid-2019 raging around the world, trade-offs between fundamental human rights — the right to freedom of assembly, to liberty, and in some instances to due process — have to be balanced against the urgent collective need of society and countries around the world to flatten the curve of the virus’s spread.

As the lines between the physical world and cyberspace have become ever more blurred in recent years, these public interest trade-offs now exist in cyberspace too. However, addressing major cyber, digital and data governance issues is enormously challenging — especially in times of crisis. What often distinguishes these cross-cutting policy areas from policy areas such as education or health, is that for every positive application of a digital technology or dataset, there is likely to be at least one potentially negative and harmful application too. Therefore, as a data governance professional, you are constantly forced to think about the potential harms of your work, even as you strive to do good. …


Balancing human and machine perspectives: what is the ‘public interest’ in the AI era?
By: Tom Orrell and Melissa Stock

Tom Orrell is the Founder of DataReady, a company that provides services and research in the digital policy and international development fields. Melissa Stock is a practicing information law barrister and manages the privacy law barrister blog. Together, we are exploring the legal dimensions of the AI era. If you are working on issues touched upon in this blog, we’d love to hear from you.

Privacy law has never been a straightforward affair in England. Its development has been piecemeal over the past two centuries.[1] In fact the laws that govern information today are spread across multiple frameworks, including: libel (protecting reputation), data protection (rights over the processing of personal data), breach of confidence (disclosure of confidential information), freedom of information (accessing information recorded by public authorities), misuse of private information[2](where private information is unjustifiably used), and harassment[3](making information public to cause alarm or distress to a person). …

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Tom Orrell

Founder of dataready.org. Get in touch!

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