Securing against future events : Pre-emption, protocols and publics http://www.securitysfutures.org Fri, 25 Oct 2013 09:38:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.6.1 The 2013 European Big Data Conference: Towards a Data-Driven Economy for Europe http://www.securitysfutures.org/latest-news/the-2013-european-big-data-conference-towards-a-data-driven-economy-for-europe/ http://www.securitysfutures.org/latest-news/the-2013-european-big-data-conference-towards-a-data-driven-economy-for-europe/#comments Mon, 14 Oct 2013 13:47:55 +0000 sfadmin1968 http://www.securitysfutures.org/?p=235 1 October 2013 Volha was among over 150 delegates who attended the 2013 European Big Data Conference held at the Stanhope Hotel in Brussels. The Conference was hosted by Google, Intel and SAS and organised by Forum Europe. The event brought together some key policy-makers and stakeholders to discuss key issues related to the potential […]

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1 October 2013 Volha was among over 150 delegates who attended the 2013 European Big Data Conference held at the Stanhope Hotel in Brussels. The Conference was hosted by Google, Intel and SAS and organised by Forum Europe.

European Big Data Conference, October 2013

The event brought together some key policy-makers and stakeholders to discuss key issues related to the potential of the big data and data analysis for the European economy at a series of panels:

  • The ‘big ticket’ – Developing the European data eco-system
  • Maximising the potential - The benefits of data analysis
  • The bigger picture – Revolutionising the public sector
  • Unleashing power of data-driven innovation for growth – Achieving an appropriate regulatory environment

The Conference was opened with a video address from Vice President Kroes, who emphasised the ‘huge potential’ that big data and big data analysis hold for Europe, but stressed that big data could only become a ‘recipe for growth’ once a coherent data eco-system was established at the EU level (to listen to the video address from Vice President Kroes, visit: http://eu-ems.com/summary.asp?event_id=176&page_id=1457).

While some presentations stressed the importance of big data analysis over the ‘size’ of big data and considered the relationship between big data and open data, most of the presentations focused on opportunities associated with big data and its analysis in a variety of sectors (e.g., research, health, industry, etc.), with some speakers further emphasising the need for Europe not to ‘be left behind’ and not ‘to miss the boat’ (the danger of that happening was illustrated by the fact that 80% of the leading big data business are in the USA).

In this context, data protection was at times considered as an obstacles/challenge rather than a necessity, or even a ‘competitive advantage’, as recently suggested by Vice President Reding (http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_SPEECH-13-720_en.htm).

Indeed, some presentations, but especially the discussion that followed, revealed a tangible tension between the EC digital agenda (with its arguable reliance on data maximisation and the need for data protection to be ‘in line with business opportunities’) and the support for the data protection reform (with its principle of data minimisation and conceptualisation of personal data as a human right, with data subject and individual citizen ‘still at the centre’).

Further differences in terms of the desired regulatory environment were evident between the EU and US positions, with the former emphasising the need for strengthening the current data protection framework and the latter arguing for an environment that would not stifle business innovation.

For more information about the event, visit: http://eu-ems.com/summary.asp?event_id=176&page_id=1457

Photos of the event are available at: http://eu-ems.com/practical.asp?event_id=176&page_id=1768

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Independent Chief Inspector of Borders John Vine reports on UK e-borders programme http://www.securitysfutures.org/latest-news/independent-chief-inspector-of-borders-john-vine-reports-on-uk-e-borders-programme/ http://www.securitysfutures.org/latest-news/independent-chief-inspector-of-borders-john-vine-reports-on-uk-e-borders-programme/#comments Wed, 09 Oct 2013 09:14:02 +0000 sfadmin1968 http://www.securitysfutures.org/?p=233 John Vine today publishes his report on the UK e-borders programme – a risk-based border control system implemented to analyse Advance Passenger Information (API) and Passenger Name Record (PNR) data on people arriving in and exiting fro the UK. Vine highlights the relative successes in terms of e-borders provision of actionable data to policing and […]

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John Vine today publishes his report on the UK e-borders programme – a risk-based border control system implemented to analyse Advance Passenger Information (API) and Passenger Name Record (PNR) data on people arriving in and exiting fro the UK.

Vine highlights the relative successes in terms of e-borders provision of actionable data to policing and security authorities (ie. in effect, the usefulness of an immigration and customs technology for non-immigration and customs purposes), but emphasises the limitations of a) the collection of passenger data, particularly within the EU, and with regard to rail and maritime; and b) the conveying of risk-based information (alerts, high risk scores) to staff who would make decisions on that basis.

The report’s recommendations:

Independent Chief Inspector of Borders John Vine reports on UK e-borders programme

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The cloud and data jurisdictions http://www.securitysfutures.org/latest-news/the-cloud-and-data-jurisdictions/ http://www.securitysfutures.org/latest-news/the-cloud-and-data-jurisdictions/#comments Mon, 22 Jul 2013 09:05:50 +0000 sfadmin1968 http://www.securitysfutures.org/?p=223 It has become commonplace to think about financial spaces where offshore logics apply – for example transactions conducted in a different currency within the City of London. We know that offshore spaces raise complex questions of sovereignty and jurisdiction. But, to what extent is data within the cloud similarly offshore? Volha attended the 5th Annual […]

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It has become commonplace to think about financial spaces where offshore logics apply – for example transactions conducted in a different currency within the City of London.

We know that offshore spaces raise complex questions of sovereignty and jurisdiction. But, to what extent is data within the cloud similarly offshore?

Volha attended the 5th Annual Cloud World Forum in London.

cloud

One of the prominent speakers was Mr Francisco García Morán, Chief IT Advisor of the European Commission, who presented a comprehensive update on the recent Commission’s efforts aimed at promoting and regulating cloud services within the EU as an important element of its Digital Agenda for Europe (http://ec.europa.eu/digital-agenda/en). (In 2012, the Commission issued an influential and widely-cited Expert Group Report on the subject of cloud computing ‘Advances in Clouds: Research in Future Cloud Computing’ (http://ec.europa.eu/digital-agenda/en/news/final-expert-group-report-advances-clouds-2012)).

A number of presentations provided competing definitions of cloud computing, one of the most comprehensive being that of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) of the US Department of Commerce: “Cloud computing is a model for enabling ubiquitous, convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction” (NIST, 2011:2; Special Publication 800-145). Absence of a common definition notwithstanding, it is widely acknowledged that ‘not all clouds are created equal’; indeed, there are different service and deployment models, with the former ranging from Software as a Service (SaaS) to Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), and the latter including private, public and hybrid clouds.

Emphasising the significance of the rise of cloud computing, many speakers referred to the so called ‘nexus of forces’, which “describes the convergence and mutual reinforcement of four interdependent trends: social interaction, mobility, cloud, and information” (http://www.gartner.com/technology/research/nexus-of-forces/). Despite the potential of cloud computing, uptake of cloud services is rather cautious, with the biggest challenges being concerns around data security and regulatory and compliance issues (Ovum, 2012, cited by OneStopClick Research in their ‘Survivors’ Guide to the Cloud’, 2013:6).

While the above ‘Survivors’ Guide’ dismisses “[f]ears about where data is held, how resources may be shared with other companies, and how to maintain performance levels outside the organisation” as irrational, emotional and unjustified (6), many speakers suggested that security and compliance considerations were becoming increasingly important, as was data sovereignty. This position was also echoed in a number of questions raised by the audience, for example, ‘what happens if national legislation applicable to the cloud service provider compels him/her to supply information to the third parties irrespectively of where data is located?’; ‘how can one verify where the data is actually held?’, etc.

Such questions, and discussions that followed, also highlighted an increased awareness of the privacy and data protection issues informed in no small part by the recent revelations about PRISM and other similar security programmes.

Oracle

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Analytics and algorithm http://www.securitysfutures.org/uncategorized/analytics-and-algorithm/ http://www.securitysfutures.org/uncategorized/analytics-and-algorithm/#comments Fri, 28 Jun 2013 15:29:23 +0000 sfadmin1968 http://www.securitysfutures.org/?p=216 The world of unstructured data appears to hold out new possibilities for acting on future events. If by unstructured we suggest data that is not already conventionally indexical (and in a sense of course all data is already structured), then data such as social media and other web-based forms is increasingly text mined for emerging […]

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The world of unstructured data appears to hold out new possibilities for acting on future events. If by unstructured we suggest data that is not already conventionally IMG_0580indexical (and in a sense of course all data is already structured), then data such as social media and other web-based forms is increasingly text mined for emerging phenomena. So, for example, commercial uses of text mining of social media data would look for associations and links with ‘churn’ to identify those with a propensity to shift to a new provider. In the security context, of course, this technique that is all but ubiquitous in commercial spheres has become a matter of political an public debate and concern. Is the use of software platforms that make sense of large volumes of unstructured data a different matter when we talk about its use for security purposes? And if it is then how do we disentangle it from the mesh of data analytics that now makes up the very fabric of our daily lives? Volha and I spent time in London learning more about the use of predictive analytics, decision trees, partitioning and noise detection. IMG_0576IMG_0570

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Analysing data for security: Five misconceptions… http://www.securitysfutures.org/uncategorized/analysing-data-for-security-five-misconceptions/ http://www.securitysfutures.org/uncategorized/analysing-data-for-security-five-misconceptions/#comments Mon, 10 Jun 2013 16:12:27 +0000 sfadmin1968 http://www.securitysfutures.org/?p=205 1. What is transatlantic data sharing? After the events of 9/11 2001, much of the emphasis on possible ‘preventability’ was placed on the problems of ‘stovepiped data’ – data held in separate databases that could not be integrated or cross-searched. A perusal of all of the 9/11 Commission ‘updates’ reveals that it has been the […]

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1. What is transatlantic data sharing?
After the events of 9/11 2001, much of the emphasis on possible ‘preventability’ was placed on the problems of ‘stovepiped data’ – data held in separate databases that could not be integrated or cross-searched. A perusal of all of the 9/11 Commission ‘updates’ reveals that it has been the mining and analysis of ‘terrorism related’ data that has been the mainstay of the oft-cited ‘more imaginative’ approaches to intelligence http://www.dhs.gov/xlibrary/assets/implementing-9-11-commission-report-progress-2011.pdf Following the transatlantic bomb plot of 2006 http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/sep/07/transatlantic-airline-bomb-plot-timeline the US authorities exertrenewed pressure on the UK government for access to commercial data that is thought to reveal ‘patterns of note or interest’. Consider, for example, the centrality of travel patterns to the subsequent trial and conviction of the transatlantic bomb plot group – by 2007, the US secretary for Homeland Security Michael Chertoff is visiting the UK and European Parliament to make the case for US access to European passenger name record data (PNR) http://useu.usmission.gov/may1407_chertoff_ep.html In some ways PNR data is not dissimilar to the kinds of social network media data that have now emerged a part of analytics based programmes. PNR data contains both structured and unstructured data and it is mined as much for what it says about people’s associations, links and networks (tickets bought on the same credit card, shared telephone contact details, seat booking details, etc.) as for what is more often thought of as ‘content’.

2. So is it secret? Did we already know?
It does seem to be the particular form of the data that has been at the heart of the controversy. Data on our online habits and proclivities seem to be particularly intimate or private. In fact, though, the mining and analysis of what we think of as personal data has a much longer history. In June 2006, the New York Times revealed the operation of the Terrorist Financing Tracking Programme (TFTP) in which the US Treasury requested and analysed “blackboxed” data on financial transactions from the Belgium based SWIFT. In effect, the access to SWIFT data enabled the US authorities to analyse credit card and wire transfer transactions from across the whole of Europe. Together with Marieke de Goede and Mara Wesseling, I write about it here http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/17530350.2012.640554?journalCode=rjce20#.UbWlq8qbjt0 The analysis of financial transactions is not surveillance of economic life so much as the targeting of ways of life that are thought to be revealed by the transactions (e.g. wire transfers to specific parts of the world).
So, along with the analysis of PNR data (1 above), it is public knowledge that the mining and analysis of large volumes of structured and unstructured commercial data, provided by private companies, has been taking place since at least 2006. My project with Marieke de Goede ‘Data Wars’ assessed some of these programmes since 2008 http://www.esrc.ac.uk/my-esrc/grants/RES-062-23-0594/outputs/read/eb259903-1142-4a29-9728-46e5947c8530
What is also known publicly is that both European and US security authorities have extended what counts as ‘intelligence’ material to include the unstructured data of internet search engines and social network media. It should be remembered that most of this is open source material. In 2011, the US Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, publicly spoke of the value of fragments of data that can be associated together with other elements to build an intelligence picture:
“To develop security programs that take full advantage of the fragmentary intelligence information we need something else. For too long the only responses to the incomplete threat information we collected on Al Qaeda operatives was a general colour coded terrorism warning or the no-fly list. We needed to do better. I engaged personally with Secretary Napolitano on this issue early in 2010, and DHS developed several imaginative programs to take advantage of partial intelligence to guide the screening at border entry points.”
Now, two years later, in effect he is disavowing these very same imaginative programmes. Lest we forget Europe’s leadership in social network analysis for security purposes, this is what Europol say in their 2012 annual review:
“Europol has adopted state-of-the-art social network analysis (SNA) as an innovative way to conduct intelligence analysis and support major investigations on organised crime and terrorism. Intelligence analysts are now able to deploy mathematical algorithms to map and measure complex and/or large data sets and quickly identify key players, groups of target suspects and other hidden patterns that would otherwise remain unnoticed. SNA is a valuable approach that complements conventional link analysis techniques, enhances the quality of intelligence reporting and helps to prioritise investigative work”.
Taken together, the public knowledge of SWIFT and PNR and the publicly made claims about new imaginative forms of intelligence provide evidence of the use of algorithmic techniques to mine and analyse social media data.

3. Is it ‘data’ that is collected?
Yes. The talk of ‘metadata’ imagines that the spoken content of a telephone conversation is private data, whilst the call number, location, time of call etc is ‘meta’. In fact, the point of what I have called in my work ‘data derivatives’ is that the associative links between elements are the valuable data points in themselves in social network analysis. http://tcs.sagepub.com/content/28/6/24.abstract
In a sense, the ‘content’ of the “dots to be connected” matters less to this kind of analysis than the relations between them. This is considered a security virtue because it makes it more difficult to assume that content is ‘innocent’ – in effect, apparently innocent content can become suspicious because it is subsequently associated with other things. Why does this matter? Because all forms of data become a resource to security – even normal and everyday data trails are required by the software if it is to learn what is ‘normal’, say, on the London Underground at this time on this day and in these circumstances. Predictive analytics are data hungry!

4. Should we be worried that GCHQ generated 197 intelligence reports from PRISM last year?
Well, we should be more interested in how the 197 are arrived at. So, security agencies cannot investigate every lead. The 197 represent persons or objects of interest that have come to attention after a process of running large volumes of data through the analytics software. It is the software that helps decide what the elements of interest should be – this travel associated with this financial transaction, associated with this presence in an open source online community, associated with this presence on Facebook. So, put simply, the vast bulk of the filtering and analysis happens before any named individuals or lists are identified. Again, there is publicly available discussion of this kind of process, much of it in the proceedings of computer science conferences http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=10940

5. Do the security authorities “reach into” the servers of the internet service providers?
We can’t be sure, but the point is they don’t need to. In the case of SWIFT the data was provided in a blackboxed ‘mirror database’. The use of mirror databases means that, in practice, it would be possible for the commercial firms to report that they had not provided data – data would not be transmitted from the company, nor would it be ‘pulled’ by the US Treasury (in SWIFT case). The mirror database would generate the data copies from any server, and then the mirror database would be accessed for analysis. The complexity of jurisdiction and applicable law should be compared to what we call ‘offshore’ when we think of finance. We are familiar with the idea that money held in certain spaces is not subject to the strict application of the regulations of a particular jurisdiction. This is increasingly also the case with data, particularly regarding the spaces of the ‘cloud’ and interoperable but dispersed databases. We should not forget that most of the data analysed is either open source or already available via commercial transactions (e.g. the PNR data contained in airline bookings systems).

In short, we are seeing now a public debate that arguably should have started almost a decade ago. When talk of catching terrorists ahead of attacks by ‘connecting the dots’ (happens after every attack, most recently Boston and Woolwich) begins again, we must consider what these dots are and how they are connected.

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Calculative Devices in a Digital Age Call for Papers http://www.securitysfutures.org/uncategorized/calculative-devices-in-a-digital-age-call-for-papers/ http://www.securitysfutures.org/uncategorized/calculative-devices-in-a-digital-age-call-for-papers/#comments Fri, 07 Jun 2013 13:13:12 +0000 sfadmin1968 http://www.securitysfutures.org/?p=197 Calculative Devices in the Digital Age Department of Geography Durham University 21-22 November 2013 Keynote speakers (tbc): Prof. Pat O’Malley (Sydney) Prof. Marieke de Goede (Amsterdam) Prof. Rita Raley (UCSB) The Securing against Future Events project is organizing a two day conference on the forms and techniques of calculation that emerge with digital computation. How […]

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Calculative Devices in the Digital Age
Department of Geography
Durham University
21-22 November 2013

Keynote speakers (tbc): Prof. Pat O’Malley (Sydney) Prof. Marieke de Goede (Amsterdam) Prof. Rita Raley (UCSB)

Datentunnel 1The Securing against Future Events project is organizing a two day conference on the forms and techniques of calculation that emerge with digital computation. How does the drive to make sense of, and productively use, large amounts of diverse data, inform the development of new calculative devices, logics and techniques? How do these devices, logics and techniques – from neural networks to decision trees, from Monte Carlo method to traversal algorithms, from text analytics to data visualisation – affect our capacity to decide and act? In a world of changing data landscapes, how do mundane elements of our physical and virtual existence become data to be analysed and rearranged in complex ensembles of people and things? In what ways are conventional notions of public and private, individual and population, certainty and probability, rule and exception transformed and what are the consequences of these transformations? How does the search for ‘hidden’ connections and patterns using association rules, correlation rules or link analysis, change our understanding of social relations and associative life? Do contemporary modes of calculation, based on constant incorporation of heterogeneous elements, produce new thresholds of calculability and computability, allowing for the improbable or the merely possible to be embraced and acted upon? As contemporary approaches to governing uncertain futures seek to anticipate the yet unknown event – in domains as diverse as marketing and insurance, emergency preparedness and counter-terrorism – how are calculation and decision engaged anew?
The workshop will be oriented to the following key themes:

• Data and calculation – algorithms and algorithmic logics
• Associative life – ‘real’ and digital identities and social relations
• Data, analytics and decision-making – applications, interfaces, protocols
• Calculating futures – uncertainty, prediction and potentiality

As the changing landscape of calculation is experienced across the arts, social and natural sciences, we are inviting papers from across disciplines and areas of specialism. Interventions from PhD students and junior scholars are particularly welcome.
The event is funded within Prof. Louise Amoore’s ESRC Global Uncertainties Fellowship (www.securitysfutures.org) and is free to attend. Please submit contact details and a 250 word abstract to volha.piotukh@durham.ac.uk, with a copy to louise.amoore@durham.ac.uk, by August 1st 2013.

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Terror watch lists and the statistics of risk http://www.securitysfutures.org/uncategorized/terror-watch-lists-and-the-statistics-of-risk/ http://www.securitysfutures.org/uncategorized/terror-watch-lists-and-the-statistics-of-risk/#comments Tue, 04 Jun 2013 11:54:03 +0000 sfadmin1968 http://www.securitysfutures.org/?p=192 Following the Boston bombing and the Woolwich attack, public and media attention again turns to the question of ‘preventability’ – could the dots of “possibly related” information have been connected in advance. Louise Amoore discusses this question on BBC Radio 4′s ‘More or Less’ http://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/series/moreorless And producer Ruth Alexander discusses the implications for how we […]

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_67889765_rigbytributes_apFollowing the Boston bombing and the Woolwich attack, public and media attention again turns to the question of ‘preventability’ – could the dots of “possibly related” information have been connected in advance. Louise Amoore discusses this question on BBC Radio 4′s ‘More or Less’

http://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/series/moreorless

And producer Ruth Alexander discusses the implications for how we think about prevention

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-22718000

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Political grammars http://www.securitysfutures.org/uncategorized/political-grammars/ http://www.securitysfutures.org/uncategorized/political-grammars/#comments Tue, 04 Jun 2013 11:38:34 +0000 sfadmin1968 http://www.securitysfutures.org/?p=185   The seminar brought together two speakers, our guest Dr Veronique Pin-Fat (Politics, Manchester) and Prof. Louise Amoore (Geography, Durham), who explored contemporary political grammars (cosmopolitanism and security calculations respectively) and some of their effects and implications. In addition to engaging with Ludwig Wittgenstein’s thinking, their papers had a number of other shared concerns/themes, such […]

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The seminar brought together two speakers, our guest Dr Veronique Pin-Fat (Politics, Manchester) and Prof. Louise Amoore (Geography, Durham), who explored contemporary political grammars (cosmopolitanism and security calculations respectively) and some of their effects and implications. In addition to engaging with Ludwig Wittgenstein’s thinking, their papers had a number of other shared concerns/themes, such as the constitutive role of political grammars, nature of rationality, the role of rules and foundations and the need for ethical responsibility, and critique of some of the political responses to the fears and anxieties surrounding uncertainty, incalculability and undecidability in general. The event, attended by postgraduate students, postdoctoral researchers and members of staff, was a success, with a lively discussion following presentation of the papers. The discussion revolved around a variety of issues, from the nature and role of language, to differences between logic and grammar; from the changing security landscapes to the ways of practicing cosmopolitanism without foundations.

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Political grammars seminar http://www.securitysfutures.org/events/political-grammars-seminar/ http://www.securitysfutures.org/events/political-grammars-seminar/#comments Thu, 02 May 2013 10:37:17 +0000 sfadmin1968 http://www.securitysfutures.org/?p=148 ‘Politics-States-Space’ & ‘Securing against Future Events’ seminar “POLITICAL GRAMMARS” 16 MAY 2013 2pm-5pm Geography West Building Room 205 What is the grammatical form of our contemporary political moment? As rules of structuring and ordering, as a means of arranging combinatorial possibilities, grammars make some political claims possible whilst silencing others. The aim of this seminar […]

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‘Politics-States-Space’ & ‘Securing against Future Events’ seminar

“POLITICAL GRAMMARS”

16 MAY 2013

2pm-5pm Geography West Building Room 205

What is the grammatical form of our contemporary political moment? As rules of structuring and ordering, as a means of arranging combinatorial possibilities, grammars make some political claims possible whilst silencing others. The aim of this seminar is to reflect upon what grammatical readings of the political can illuminate of contemporary life. Understood as the rules that condition the possibility of making sense and being heard in the world, contemporary grammars seem to reassemble relations for non-linear forms of causality and for new claims about humanity. What happens when some configurations become sedimented, as foundations or grounds? For example, what possibilities are foreclosed when specific posthuman grammars claim the end of humanity, or when algorithmic grammars render possible inferential combinations of “if, and, then…”?  Do contemporary political grammars incorporate all potentialities, all future claims, within the tight logic of their formulation? Or are there spaces between the lines, gaps in the conjunctions that open onto an ethics without grounds, onto other potentialities?

Speakers:

Dr Veronique Pin-Fat (Politics, Manchester University)

‘Cosmopolitanism and the End of Humanity: A Grammatical Reading of Posthumanism’

Deploying a ‘grammatical reading’ the paper explores the ways in which specific posthuman grammars produce the ‘end of humanity’. I suggest that those grammars are rendered conspicuous by Stanley Cavell’s reading of skepticism. The paper goes on to explore the implications of this for liberal cosmopolitan commitments and suggests an ethico-political response in the form of a non-foundational cosmopolitanism. I propose that, tricky though it may be, a cosmopolitanism that embraces the end of humanity can be formulated and defended as a moral commitment to humanity. A cosmopolitanism without foundations, I suggest, is one way to overcome the skeptic’s fantasy that we are hidden from each other and with it the belief that our primary relation to the world is one of knowledge anchored to foundational promises of certainty. Instead, a life lived in the world with others is proposed and with it a cosmopolitan commitment to humanity as an unavoidable ethical responsibility.

Prof. Louise Amoore (Geography, Durham University)

‘Security and the Incalculable’

In this paper I explore a specific relation between mathematics and security calculations. Recalling the confrontations between the mathematician Alan Turing and the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein in the 1930s, I am interested in the relationship between intuition and ingenuity. During Wittgenstein’s 1930 lectures on the foundation of mathematics, Turing interjects in order to insist upon the capacity of number: “one can make predictions”. Wittgenstein replies that mathematics “makes no predictions”, but instead is a form of grammar: “taken by itself we shouldn’t know what to do with it; it’s useless. But there is all kind of use for it as part of a calculus”. It is just such a formulation of a calculus or grammar – ‘decision trees’, ‘event trees’, ‘attribute based algorithms’ – that characterises contemporary security. As for Turing, the logic comprises “two faculties, which we may call intuition and ingenuity”. The intuitive realm of imagination and speculation reaches toward a possible solution, while the ingenuity seeks arrangements of propositions. The advent of ‘rules based’ and ‘risk based’ security decisions, then, are always already political because they precisely involve the arrangement of propositions and possibilities.

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Big Data in Brussels http://www.securitysfutures.org/latest-news/big-data-in-brussels/ http://www.securitysfutures.org/latest-news/big-data-in-brussels/#comments Thu, 02 May 2013 10:31:31 +0000 sfadmin1968 http://www.securitysfutures.org/?p=139 27 March 2013 Volha attended a TechAmerica Seminar “A Data-Driven World: the Value of Data Today” (http://www.techamerica.org/data-driven-world/) that took place in Brussels at Bibliothéque Solvay, just steps away from the European Parliament. During the opening remarks, the significance of big data for Europe’s future was emphasised, with reference made to the “Big Data Revolution” speech […]

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27 March 2013 Volha attended a TechAmerica Seminar “A Data-Driven World: the Value of Data Today” (http://www.techamerica.org/data-driven-world/) that took place in Brussels at Bibliothéque Solvay, just steps away from the European Parliament.

Data BrusselsDuring the opening remarks, the significance of big data for Europe’s future was emphasised, with reference made to the “Big Data Revolution” speech by the Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for the Digital Agenda, Neelie Kroes, delivered at the EIT Foundation Annual Innovation Forum the day before (http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_SPEECH-13-261_en.htm). In the speech, big data was called “the new oil”, “a fuel for innovation, powering and energising” the European economy.  However, “[u]nlike oil [the well of big data] won’t run dry: [and] we’ve only just started tapping it”. This was also one of the main themes of the event, i.e. the promise that big data has for European businesses. The seminar speakers addressed various aspects related to big data, from the opportunities to the challenges it presents, although the focus was mostly on the former. The role of analytics was also emphasised, as it is this that unlocks the potential of big data.

John Boswell, Senior Vice President, Chief Legal Officer and Corporate Secretary, SAS, provided an introduction with the focus on the confluence of forces that allowed for the rise of big data as a valuable resource (including an unprecedented creation of data; unprecedented connectivity; cheap storage of data and powerful analytical tools), and forces that aimed at using it for malevolent purposes (e.g., hacking, espionage). Katherine Butler, General Counsel, Software Center of Excellence, Global Research Center, General Electric Company, talked about the ‘industrial Internet’ and presented several case studies of how big data analytics make a difference for companies. In his presentation, Paul Mitchell, General Manager for Technology Policy, Microsoft, talked about the evolving privacy landscape and possible ways of putting users back in control of their data as much as possible. In particular, he stressed that data is increasingly obtained passively, with the user unaware of many data transactions. What constitutes personal data (PD) has also changed: it used to be pre-determined, but now it is contextual, and that is something that needs to be appreciated for the purposes of regulation.

One of the repeated themes during the event was the need to distinguish between ‘industrial’ (commercial) data and PD, with data protection rules only applicable to the latter (data should be ‘liberated’, so that it could be ‘harnessed’). This should be read in light of the on-going reform of the EU Data Protection regulatory framework (Draft Regulation http://ec.europa.eu/justice/data-protection/document/review2012/com_2012_11_en.pdf; UK ICO’s Analysis Paper: http://www.ico.org.uk/~/media/documents/library/Data_Protection/Research_and_reports/ico_proposed_dp_regulation_analysis_paper_20130212_pdf.ashx; Draft Directive http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=CELEX:52012PC0010:en:NOT) and negotiations  regarding a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2013/feb/13/us-and-eu-transatlantic-trade-liberalisation).

Thus, the recent stage of the revision of the Data Protection Regulation has reportedly been marked by active lobbying on behalf of big US technical companies, something that Seán Kelly, MEP (MEP of the Year For Research and Innovation in 2012), who presented an update on the revision process at the seminar, refuted. Importantly, the UK, along with some other member states, has also joined the US in lobbying for relaxation of the data regulation to avoid negative impact on businesses (http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2013/mar/07/uk-us-eu-data-protection-rules).

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