Thoughts on May’s border models

I’ve been thinking a little about Theresa May’s latest clarification of what her Government wants from Brexit and borders. I come at this merely as curious about some of the underlying models.

A line in Dan Roberts’ analysis sums up part of what is bothering me:

May’s convoluted proposals for avoiding a customs union would rest on the most intrusive and bureaucratic system of government monitoring yet devised.

(Roberts, D. Theresa May unveils fragile truce in third Brexit offering, The Guardian, last accessed 3 March 2018)

The proposals, which may or may not be technically feasible, offer to make Britain are far more digital society. The tagging proposals may mean the increase of automation and machine learning to manage the data and context required to manage this. The software will also rely on infrastructure such as networking, cloud, storage, and cybersecurity.

At one level, it would appear to a 21st century option, continuing down the automation and Big Data logic. But who hosts the data and software? Who provides networking? Would this be the government cloud and its Digital Marketplace? Who would be the developers? Private companies?

Yet Dan Roberts’ quote mentions the “most intrusive and bureaucratic system of government monitoring devised”. For me, this raises the spectre of the Snooper’s Charter, defeated by the European Court of Justice (Theresa May’s Snoopers’ Charter dealt major setback as EU court rules against ‘indiscriminate’ collection of internet data, The Telegraph), coming back in through a different means. The data collection may, or may not, be indiscriminate and one has to question what the thought models for development would be as well as how transparent they would be? (I would already assume not available for checking or verification.)

The part that is deeply concerning is the notion that technology will solve all of these problems. There has not been a mention of people but there is the extension of the increased surveillance that was defeated by the ECJ. But is this really thought out? Or is it also the response to the digital society that we live in, driven by techne born of techne? At current glance, May may be promising to compromise but it appears to allow her to revive not only her migration limit but also the surveillance required.


Welcoming the Videocracy

I’m currently reading Videocracy (Allocca, 2018). As the Head of Culture and Trends, there is a clear bias but the breathlessness of the writing is intriguing. Has YouTube style become writing style? Allocca highlights some interesting videos and extrapolates these into trends and themes. Some are long lasting such as the power and use of […]

High Frequency Trading Fans

Ticketmaster, a large purveyor of tickets, appear to be attempting to suggest how a genuine fan might be constructed: Tickets: is this the system to finally beat the touts? Having taken the email address, they want other details to check if a purchaser is a Verified Fan via social media. I do wonder how long […]

Mental health as algorithm bias

The Guardian has a story on insurance companies refusing life insurance cover for those with mental illness. A concern is raised that: The suspicion is that insurers are cherry-picking customers to minimise risk and boost the bottom line. (Marsh, 2018) So are the algorithm’s health being shown by human health? It may or may not […]

A creaking social media

The Guardian ran a piece by Tim Burrows on Facebook’s Safety Check feature, Safety Check: is Facebook becoming fear’s administrator-in-chief? I do find the social media platform increasingly fascinating, especially as it comes under critique for its social and technical choices. There’s an increasing creakiness that is coming to the fore now. Ruminating on the […]

A day at DMRN

I presented a poster on Joshua Steele at the Digital Music Research Network (DMRN) workshop this week. More on the poster in another post but the day did provide a range of talks. Much enjoyed the keynote by Augusto Sardi about capturing and rendering spatial audio. It reflected on techniques from computer vision and the […]

Prototyping, tracers and the art of throwing things away

I’m a fan of prototyping. Not all the time but I strongly believe that it has a place within the toolkit. If I am unsure of how something might be put together then I might put together a quick version to test out a current approach. If I am working with a team who know […]

Some Thoughts on Digitizing the Stage

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Jane Austen’s word choices

A Facebook friend had a link to an NY Times piece on Jane Austen’s word choices. Using Franco Moretti’s techniques, it begins showing how Digital Humanities can be useful. There are one of two of his books that I am waiting for before I can get into the pros and cons but I do have […]

Reflections on the Docker Containers for Reproducible Research workshop

I’ve just come back from an workshop run by the Software Sustainability Institute about Docker and reproducibility. Widely used in industry and academia, Docker, the containerisation technology, is perhaps one of many tools to support the running of software across different platforms in a sane way. Two or three years ago, there was a huge […]