About Me
Policy Analysis

Public Policy Work

I am active in areas of UK government policy development where technological developments are likely to have a significant impact on society. 

During my career in the UK civil service I have been consistently worried by the poor understanding of scientific and technical issues within the administrative civil service and the policy mistakes that are the inevitable result.

I am involved in the following activities involving people who share these concerns.

UK Cryptography Policy Discussion Group

In 1996 I worked with Paul Leyland (then at Oxford) and Ross Anderson (at Cambridge) to form the UK Cryptography Policy Discussion Group with the aim of promoting public discussion and involvement in the formulation of UK government policy on encryption.

The group, supported by a mailing list, is comprised of people with a professional interest in the formulation and content of UK government policy on the provision, use and control of encryption products and services in the UK. It was formed in mid-1996, in response to the then announced UK policy on the provision of encryption services on telecommunications networks.

The aim of the group is to exchange information and co-ordinate actions in order to achieve a UK government policy which:

  1. preserves existing freedoms within the UK in respect of the design, development, provision and use of encryption products and services
  2. is workable in practice given other constraints and factors which are beyond the control or influence of the UK government
  3. meets the common interests of people in the UK in combating crime and terrorism whilst minimising intrusion into their lawful activities and any unnecessary erosion of their privacy
  4. is set out clearly, precisely and unambiguously to meet clearly stated objectives which are demonstrably achievable in political, legal and technical terms
  5. consistent with the above, minimises any (domestic or export) controls on encryption products and services, removing any existing controls which are unachievable whilst clarifying the scope of those that remain and the processes that will be used to implement them

The group will be informal and will operate initially using a mailing list at 'ukcrypto@maillist.ox.ac.uk'. To subscribe send an email message to 'majordomo@maillist.ox.ac.uk' with 'subscribe ukcrypto' in the body of the message.

The Foundation for Information Policy Research

I am a member of the Advisory Council of the Foundation for Information Policy Research (FIPR)

FIPR is a non-profit public interest body undertaking research on the social issues raised by modern information systems and services.  Dr Ross Anderson of the Cambridge Computer Laboratory took the initiative in forming FIPR in response to what he saw as appalling policy development work by the UK government and the civil service on the impact of modern information systems and services on society.

Cyber-Rights and Cyber-Liberties (UK)

I am Technology Policy Advisor to Cyber-Rights and Cyber-Liberties (UK), a non-profit organisation that seeks to protect the rights of private citizens in their use of cyberspace.

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