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Jane Fae

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Crime epidemic or never had it so good? Drilling into statistics is murder

Britain is in the grip of a crime epidemic, the likes of which we have never seen before. Knife crime. Stabbings. And if you're out after dark, make sure your will is written and posted before you close the front door. Or how about the alternative reality of... we've never had it so good. Violent crime was down last year, down …
Jane Fae , 27 Jun 2018

Windrush immigration papers scandal: What it didn't teach about data compliance

Comment Is there a lesson for politicians around the apparent destruction of disembarkation cards of citizens from Caribbean nations who arrived in the UK after the Second World War? Perhaps. But it goes something like this: it's a bad idea for the Home Office to make it difficult for legal immigrants to prove their status. It's an …
Jane Fae , 30 Apr 2018

Where hackers haven't directly influenced polls, they've undermined our faith in democracy

What a difference a year makes. This time last year, Twitter pooh-poohed any suggestion that Russian agents ran accounts on its platform for purposes of subverting the US election. A month ago, it was forced to eat its words, owning up to maybe just a few paltry 201. Last week, in the course of a Congressional grilling, that …
Jane Fae , 8 Nov 2017
Natwest symbol wall

NatWest customer services: We're aware of security glitch

Brit retail bank NatWest is backtracking on previous claims that it was aware of a security glitch at the log-in stage that requested customers to enter more digits of their password than existed. A little over a week ago, a potential security issue emerged when this writer was asked to enter the 11th digit of a password to an …
Jane Fae , 28 Sep 2017

BoJo, don't misuse stats then blurt disclaimers when you get rumbled

As we all know, there are "lies, damned lies, and statistics". No doubt that line will be pulled out again to bolster the case for British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson against Sir David Norgrove, head of the UK Statistics Authority, who has made it clear he's unimpressed with Boris's use of the stats. Norgrove criticised …
Jane Fae , 19 Sep 2017

Prejudiced humans = prejudiced algorithms, and it's not an easy fix

It is half a century since the days when London B&Bs would welcome guests with notices stating "No Irish, no blacks, no dogs." Twenty years since, as marketing manager for a major UK financial institution, I had to inform our underwriting department that adding "does not apply to disabled persons" to an ad for motor insurance …
Jane Fae , 31 Aug 2017
May front page photo via Shutterstock

From landslide to buried alive: Why 2017 election forecasts weren't wrong

In the aftermath of almost every recent election, two types of story get written based on the outcome. One is how the polls "got it wrong", how the forecast – surprise! – failed to match the actual result. The other, usually written by someone with at least basic statistical skills, explains why the polls mostly didn't "get it …
Jane Fae , 13 Jun 2017
Corbyn thumbs up photo via Shutterstock

Strong and stable? Theresa May's election poll lead succumbs to outlier syndrome

I hate to say I told you so but, tell a lie, I told you so. As the election campaign heads into the home straight, could the unthinkable be on the cards? Could Theresa May, who started some four weeks ago with what was widely regarded as an unassailable lead, be on the verge of losing? That's not the same as Labour winning – …
Jane Fae , 31 May 2017
Union Jack and suit photo via Shutterstock

UK General Election 2017: How EU law will hit British politicians' Facebook fight

The internet is buzzing with claims about the role of data and use of algorithms by politicians to swing votes. Whether data played so important a part in campaigns from 2015 General Election to the EU referendum and how far data will shape the outcome of the upcoming snap General Election is interesting, but – ultimately – …
Jane Fae , 10 May 2017

How their GDPR ignorance could protect you from your denial

We may be leaving the EU, but some EU law – with significant consequences for the IT community – will carry on. One such is the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). We signed up to it before the referendum, agreed to persist with it after and, if businesses wish to continue to process data belonging to EU firms, as well …
Jane Fae , 7 Apr 2017

Automated, insight cannot be: Jedi master of statistics was good – but beware the daft side

So, farewell then Hans Rosling, educator and "Jedi master of data visualisation". For in a world increasingly addicted to alternative facts, you pioneered software – Gapminder – and a viewer-friendly approach with bubble charts that allowed you to communicate simple important messages about the world through the medium of the …
Jane Fae , 21 Feb 2017

US election pollsters weren't (very) wrong – statistically speaking

The media have spoken and they are unimpressed: the polls – this time the US presidential polls – got it woefully wrong, and therefore burn the witch! Or in the absence of witches, let's set fire to Nate Silver, who until around 2am (GMT) on November 9 was the doyen of US polling and go-to person for all US forecasts. At which …
Jane Fae , 5 Dec 2016
Children playing outside, lie barefoot on grass. Photo by Shutterstock

Anonymised search engine page found on 'kid-friendly' search site

When it comes to seeking a magic bullet that will protect children from the evils of the internet, the first casualty is all too often common sense. So it appears in respect of the latest in a long line of child-friendly projects – Kiddle – which launched itself on to the scene a little over a month ago as a self-proclaimed “ …
Jane Fae , 11 Apr 2016
Woman thumbs down, image via Shutterstock

Lies, damn lies and election polls: Why GE2015 pundits fluffed the numbers so badly

Whatever you may think about the outcome of last Thursday’s General Election, there is one issue on which public, politicians and pundits alike seem to be broadly united: how badly the opinion pollsters fared. They got it very wrong! Egregiously so, according to the editor of the Market Oracle, an online financial forecasting …
Jane Fae , 11 May 2015

What does the NHS’s new IT plan really want to extract from us?

Feature Following last month’s announcement of a £1m nationwide spam drop, what now for, the NHS's latest multi-million pound big data project? Is it, as the carefully managed news release implied, merely taking its time – in fact, delaying a key project by almost a year - so as to nail issues of patient confidentiality? Or …
Jane Fae , 21 Nov 2013
The Register breaking news

CPS grovels after leaking IDs of hundreds arrested during student riots

Exclusive A botched response to a Freedom Of Information Act request could be about to cost the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) dear. Prosecutors have issued grovelling apologies after revealing the identities of over a hundred people who were arrested during the tuition-fee riots but subsequently released without charge. Back in June, …
Jane Fae , 27 Sep 2012

Erotica 2011 stands firm against rise of the sex machines

NSFW It may not have been overtaken by machines just yet, but reports of the demise of Erotica may be just a bit premature. An official spokesman for what is widely billed as the UK's premier adult event confirmed this weekend that London's Olympia had already been re-booked for next year and, despite detractors, Erotica was looking …
Jane Fae , 23 Nov 2011
The Register breaking news

Anti-smut boss: 'We won't be net police'

The Internet Watch Foundation has no intention of becoming the UK government's net police, its new boss has declared. Speaking to El Reg in her first interview in her new role at the IWF, Susie Hargreaves also revealed the need for greater openness, independence and transparency at the anti-child sex abuse organisation. The …
Jane Fae , 6 Nov 2011

Should your system offer Mr, Ms ... and Mx?

Analysis Last week the Australian government announced new rules for declaring a gender on passports. This week UK authorities revealed they are conducting their own review of gender on passports. What are the implications for systems design and management? The Australian move follows increasing pressure from transgender and intersex …
Jane Fae , 27 Sep 2011
The Register breaking news

Facebook under fire over Israel, transgender bullying

Facebook was under fire again yesterday from various groups for alleged inconsistency in its moderation – too quick, it was claimed, to take down material supporting non-mainstream causes, too slow to react in other cases. dislikefacebook First up, according to gay newspaper Pink News, was a homophobic Facebook group called …
Jane Fae , 3 Jun 2011
The Register breaking news

Facebook forced to reinstate snogging men pic

Overly prudish censorship by Facebook is in the firing line again today for giving offence to yet another large group of its users before being forced into a hasty retreat. This time, with word spreading rapidly around the US and UK gay communities of homophobic prejudice on the part of Facebook moderators, the social media …
Jane Fae , 19 Apr 2011
The Register breaking news

EU Data retention directive 'flawed, unlawful'

European state powers to retain data about customers’ telecommunications are set to come in for a kicking with the release of an offical report from the European Commission. The report, due out this afternoon, is expected to evaluate and gently prod the Commission towards taking further steps to harmonising existing …
Jane Fae , 18 Apr 2011
The Register breaking news

Sex Party's down-under struggles with dominant Catholic priests

The Australian Sex Party has called for state and federal electoral commissions to stop using church properties for electoral purposes, after apparently running into problems with the putting up of posters. Others are likely to join them, with the Greens also reportedly affected by what is seen as church bias in respect of …
Jane Fae , 7 Apr 2011
The Register breaking news

Oxfordshire cops switch speed cameras back on

Oxfordshire police have turned speed cameras back on as others throughout England switch theirs off, prompting questions as to whether senior police and county council figures are playing politics. Last August, following the withdrawal of central government funds, Oxfordshire made motoring history by being the first county to …
Jane Fae , 1 Apr 2011
The Register breaking news

Labour MP says police should clamp down on online incitement

Police need to clamp down not just on violent protesters, but also on the twits – and any other social networkers – who encourage them online. That was the view expressed by Labour Shadow Treasury Minister, David Hanson, who intervened during debate on last weekend's violent events in the centre of London, to remind the home …
Jane Fae , 1 Apr 2011

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