Digital Defence – The National Cyber Security Strategy

Chancellor Philip Hammond gave a speech at the Microsoft conference in October launching the National Cyber Security Strategy. He was clear that changing technology transforms our society and our economy dramatically. To illustrate this point, the Chancellor noted that in 1589 the British Inventor William Lee developed a knitting machine, and was denied a patent for it on the grounds that it would create unemployment. The Queen noted in her rejection of the patent that “It would assuredly bring them (her subjects) to ruin by depriving them of employment, thus making them beggars.”

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The data arms race: will Labour win?

We are living in the age of a “data” arms race. In the US “big data” was pioneered in the two Obama election campaigns. It is estimated the 2012 Obama campaign spent over $1 billion amassing and using data driven analytics. “Scraps” of data were centralised in order to understand voters. Through online transactions, supermarket purchases and social media posts a myriad of day to day online activity is logged, recorded and characteristics profiled. Via Facebook, Twitter or Reddit – if it is in the “public domain” it can be obtained. In the US political parties can now purchase data profiles of individuals in order to “target” them with campaign messages. Data can be harvested, and with the right software & resources, analysed to profile voters. This can allow political parties to create “bespoke” campaign messages, more effectively canvass and therefore GOTV (“Get out the Vote”).

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Live from Miami: Challenge for the centre left is to stand up and lead.

Future Labour’s Darren Jones, with Labour Party colleagues, campaigning in Florida for Hillary Clinton.

Europe will face new challenges following the election of Donald Trump, writes Darren Jones.

Donald Trump’s election spells the end of progressive politics, unless we stand up and redefine the centre left.

I’ve just returned to the UK after a week in Miami campaigning for Hillary Clinton. The result is clearly not what I was hoping for.

I’ve been involved in election campaigns continuously for about 12 years now. As a Labour Party campaigner you won’t be surprised to hear the jokes I’ve been receiving about taking up a new hobby: a decade of (largely) losing elections on the centre left of politics raises the question as to whether I should substitute my passion for gardening.

But, following my loss at the 2015 General Election (nationally and in my own campaign to become the Labour MP for my home seat of Bristol North West) and then Brexit and now the US Presidential election, I’ve come up with a theory.

In my view, the US election being so close with a Republican candidate as repugnant as Donald Trump spells a much longer term problem for the centre left of politics than it does just for the outcome of this Presidential election. And the parallels apply equally to UKIP and our impending Brexit too.

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