#TechTop3 – Our top three tech stories of the week

By October 24, 2014EU insight

By the London technology team

Clegg announces TechNorth, but will it take off?

The Deputy Prime Minister has announced the creation of a new tech hub in Sheffield (home to his constituency of Sheffield Hallam). The hub will be known as TechNorth and will be part of Tech City UK. It will be tasked with co-ordinating the exiting digital technology expertise of Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool, Sheffield and the North East tech cluster.

Clegg hopes that TechNorth will emulate the success of TechCity in East London, however, doubts as to whether this could happen have been raised by Rory Cellan-Jones in an article for the BBC. It will be of great interest to see whether TechNorth becomes a success and whether companies can be tempted to locate in the North rather than London.

Further coverage of the news appeared in V3 and IT Pro.

The increasing prevalence of social media defamation cases

An article in the Guardian from Roy Greenslade unpacks figures from Thomson Reuters that reveal a 23% rise in the number of reported defamation cases in the UK over the past year. Defamation cases are not commonplace in the UK and despite the recent rise, the numbers involved are still relatively low – up from 70 to 86. However, much of the rise has been attributed to the growth of libel cases borne out of comments made on ‘new’ media platforms, the passage of the Defamation Act and the rise of celebrity cases and the legal industry surrounding them.

The Independent’s Ian Burrell covered the story and highlighted the link between an increasing number of libel cases and the lack of understanding among social media users around the legal ramifications associated with comments and activities in the online sphere. High profile examples of this, such as Sally Bercow’s libellous tweeted comments about Lord McAlpine, have served to illustrate the delay in public understanding of how existing legislation applies to new platforms.

Data protectors call for data collected by the ‘Internet of Things’ to be regulated.

A group of international data protection authorities declared that data collected by everyday connected devices, part of the so called ‘Internet of Things’ should be classed as personal data and should be protected by data protection laws. The group reasoned that as the so called ‘Internet of Things’ develops, the data will gain an inherent value and should be protected and also called for end to end encryption to protect the security of devices.

The Internet of Things has been hailed by politicians for its potential, but it makes data protection authorities nervous. Current rules are already not well suited to the digital age and this will only grow as a whole new class of data collecting devices hit the market.

The declaration is here and Greame Burton covered it for Computing. Computer Business Review also covered the story.