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COVID-19: IoT and Cybersecurity

Siobhan Pipa14 August 2020

Fredrik Johan Skippervold is a UCL MPA Graduate within Digital Technologies and Policy 18/19. He holds a Bachelor of Law with Spanish and is currently a researcher in the PETRAS National Centre of Excellence for IoT Systems Cybersecurity.

Introduction

Over the past four months (April – July) my colleague Dr Catherine Wheller and I have been following the impacts of COVID-19 on cybersecurity and the Internet of Things (IoT) within the UK and beyond. The pandemic has inspired a range of IoT innovations to help stop the spread of the virus. We have written weekly landscape briefings (LB) that provide up to date information on the latest developments in this area. In this blog I will talk about how we set about collecting information and how we put together these reports, as well as highlight some of the major developments which include discussions surrounding privacy and ethics. To note, a final summary briefing will be posted alongside this blogpost. The summary, which can be found here, includes a detailed timeline of events, provides an overview of how IoT devices are helping to stop the spread of the virus (UK and globally) and presents discussions around so-called ‘immunity passports’.

Cybersecurity

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From Cyber Stalking to Spyware: what do we know about stalkerware in intimate partner violence situations?

jay3 July 2020

By MPA candidates Jay Neuner, Maddalena Esposito and Thomas Bermudez 

Smartphones and other devices are the lifelines of the modern world. Navigation, information, connection – these critical resources are right at our fingertips.

But for some, the very devices used to enrich their lives are now being used to endanger them. Through “stalkerware” – apps that, once downloaded onto a device, can geo-locate, log keystrokes, access other apps, and much more – others can monitor and even manipulate the device user’s activity. Some of these apps are nearly undetectable. Worryingly, reports from news media, advocacy groups, academia, and others are finding that many perpetrators of these malicious acts are none other than a spouse or other intimate partner, as one of many means of perpetrating intimate partner violence (IPV).

Chayn logo

Chayn logo

These apps represent a disturbing evolution in the phenomena of cyber-stalking, online harassment, and other technology-facilitated abuse. While those fields are increasingly well-documented (though still limited by the relative nascency of the digital realm), stalkerware’s use in IPV is an emerging field requiring much more research.

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Digital Policy Careers in the UK Government  

Leonie M Tanczer18 June 2020

Dr Leonie Tanczer, Lecturer in International Security and Emerging Technologies, summarises key takeaways derived from a unique guest lecture on digital policy careers in the public sector. A must-read for anyone interested in working in this space! 

The students of our Master’s of Public Administration (MPA) “Digital Technologies and Policy” degree had quite a treat recently. Two officials from the “Cyber Security and Digital Identity Directorate” at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) – joined us virtually (as one does nowadays!) to share some useful insights on what to expect when aspiring to a career in the UK Government. We would like to highlight some useful observations and tips.

Civil Service Fast Stream

Civil Service Fast Stream by www.faststream.gov.uk

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Academic Conferences in Crisis Mode – a verdict

Andreas P Kopp12 June 2020

What works and what doesn’t when conferencing online

Academic conferences are among the most important events for researchers. It is the place where you get to present results and receives feedback, where you can put your own name out there and show your face to the academic world, and where you get to network, meet heroes and heroines, academic crushes, and friends from across the globe. Conferencing is one of the perks of academic life – especially for early career researchers and PhD students, who rely on the networks gained at conferences for knowledge sharing and continued learning, for future collaborations, and above all, for the academic job hunt.

Three out of four conferences I planned to attend in 2020 are now over – one has been cancelled, two were transferred to online conferences. In addition, various workshops I meant to attend in person also ‘went digital’. It is time for some reflections and a verdict about academic conferencing during the current global crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic. These are my personal reflections, and your experience might be different. I think, however, that I capture some general aspects that might have been observed by many colleagues out there.

Coffee at desk

Cosily conferencing at home with better coffee, but less socialising

 

First of all, kudos to the many organisers who in most cases had very little time to change entire conferences to online layouts – it must have been stressful. Yet, it worked just fine most of the time. All the participants usually understand that these are different, challenging times, so nobody takes any hiccups seriously but instead remains patient and calm.

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UCL MPA Candidates present at BSI Standards e-Conference

Siobhan Pipa15 May 2020

Written by the MPA students Natalia Maj, Malla Tedroff, Jiehui Song, Jan Sassenberg and Gabriella Ezeani

Medical devices, artificial intelligence, robotics, software, Covid-19, the future of healthtech and… Zoom. On the 23rd of April, we presented our MPA research project on standardization and regulatory challenges of connected and intelligent medical devices at the first ever online BSI Conference, which attracted hundreds of participants from diverse industries and backgrounds. You can listen to the presentation here.

BSI team photoAs part of the MPA at STEaPP, students work in groups together with a client on a real-world problem for their final master’s project. This year, we, a group of students comprising Natalia Maj, Malla Tedroff, Jiehui Song, Jan Sassenberg and Gabriella Ezeani, are collaborating with the British Standards Institution (BSI), the UK’s national standards body, on challenges related to the rise of intelligent and connected medical devices. Medical devices are becoming increasingly connected and technologically advanced, incorporating technologies such as artificial intelligence. These innovations disrupt the established regulatory frameworks, creating new regulatory and standardization challenges, especially relating to the protection of patient safety and device security. New, or complementary, standards are needed to address the regulatory gaps, and this is a very fascinating and challenging topic to research due to the complexity of software and connected devices.

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