Month notes, January 2019

It feels like 2019 might be the year that the practical application of data ethics becomes mainstream. At least, that’s what the big names like PwC are predicting. So it’s no wonder that IF’s had a good (and very busy) start to the year.

First, some exciting news - James Barrington-Wells has joined us as IF’s Chief Financial Officer. He brings a wealth of business strategy and finance expertise from KPMG and Deloitte. It’s great to have you on board, James!

So, what have we been up to so far in 2019?

Well, first off, María, George, Cath, Dave, Ella and Jen have been working with Homes England. Their mission is to intervene in the housing market to ensure more homes are built in areas of greatest need, to improve affordability. We’ve been working with them to identify opportunities to build data services for small and medium property developers to help them build more homes.


María, getting her workshop on. IF: CC/BY.

We’ve also been working with Citizens Advice. Nat, Harry, Ella, Dave, Felix and Jen have all been involved in different stages of this project, bringing their diverse skills to that work. We've really enjoyed working with the brilliant team there and believe Citizens Advice is in a unique position to shape the creation of a more ethical information society.

We collaborated on a project with COMUZI lab about how to explain automated decisions. Together we prototyped a mental health chatbot, to research how young people understand and interact with automated systems - we’ll be sharing our findings soon. Alex and Akil, we've loved having you two around!

And David and Emily have been wrapping up our work on the collaborative Data Rights Finder project. Open Rights Group, it’s been a pleasure working on this with you, and thanks to the ICO for funding this work.

Our security researcher, Felix, had a paper accepted at world-renowned International Conference on Software Engineering, about the about the security implications of copy-paste development. He's also had a paper from his time at the Chair of Cyber Trust accepted at FAT conference. It’s about how China’s social credit system currently defines “good” and “bad” behaviour, which ultimately has a great impact on people’s lives. Big congratulations to the whole team!

In case you missed our recent blog posts, I wrote about what I learnt at a Gender and Development event last year, and Emily wrote an awesome post about moving our sites over to Netlify. Emily's post was even tweeted twice by Netlify...

We’ve been invited to give a few talks this month too. I went up to the University of Edinburgh to talk to the Design Informatics school, and Sarah was invited to give a keynote at Nike’s Data Summit, where she talked about about the commercial advantages of practical and ethical uses of data and AI.

And last, but certainly not least, Ella was on fire yesterday morning on a panel at Doteveryone’s responsible tech event. I’ll leave you with this nugget of wisdom…