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The Foundation for Information Policy Research is an independent body that studies the interaction between information technology and society. Our goal is to identify technical developments with significant social impact, commission research into public policy alternatives, and promote public understanding and dialogue between technologists and policy-makers in the UK and Europe.
FIPR monitors and participates in the development of various aspects of 'information policy'. FIPR offers its expertise in relevant areas, while also creating a forum for discussion.
This influential FIPR report examines the legal and technical risks to consumers from engaging in e-commerce transactions such as online banking, credit card purchases, and contracts made with electronic signatures. How do these compare with existing rules for paper transactions? What happens if something goes wrong? Is the consumer being asked to accept risks previously shouldered by financial institutions? (See also the supplementary note on terms and conditions of four online banks). This report, plus the accompanying press eelease, generated significant publicity:
|FIPR wins Special Award for Service to Journalism for raising awareness of the threats posed to press freedom by the RIP Bill, at the European Online Journalism Awards 2000 6/7/00|
- archive of RIP news stories
- Decrypt With Care, appeared in Financial Times, December 21, 1999, by Caspar Bowden.
- Cryptography and Democracy: Dilemmas of Freedom, a paper by Caspar Bowden, and Yaman Akdeniz, in Liberty eds., Liberating Cyberspace: Civil Liberties, Human Rights, and the Internet, London: Pluto Press, 1999, 81-125.
FIPR encounters the Interception of Communications and related policy in multiple ways; on some fronts it is international, or European-wide, or UK-based. Our involvement has also been on technological issues, partly due to our expertise, and also due to the UK Government's tendency to cross the paths of Electronic Commerce and Electronic Surveillance by the UK government.
Clause 60 of this Act gives ministers the power to collect medical records from almost anywhere and do almost anything they like with the information. If its draft form had got through unamended, there would have been no `almost' - it would have amounted to nationalisation, without compensation, of all Britain's personal health information. The amendments FIPR secured were unsatisfactory from the point of view of protecting patient privacy - there is a Patient Information Advisory Group to advise the minister, but that is stuffed with the usual suspects. However, they have preserved an independent healthcare IT sector in Britain, which would otherwise have become totally dependent on ministerial whim. Our lobbying has also greatly heightened public awareness of medical privacy issues. So although we consider this to have been a FIPR defeat, the world would have been still worse if we hadn't fought at all.
For the background to this controversy, see an editorial in the British Medical Journal written by Dr Ross Anderson, who chairs FIPR. Other resources are:
An effort to provide an archive of significant policy papers, discussion documents, articles, and resources. Many of the documents in this archive involve multiple policy initiatives.
A collection of FIPR sponsored research, as well as the related research of various members of the FIPR Advisory Council.
A collection of FIPR media coverage, as an indicator of FIPR's breadth and activity in policy affairs.
For relevant consultation processes, relying on relative openness, FIPR has maintained consultation libraries. FIPR calls for submissions voluntarily by individuals and organisations in order to create an open discourse of ideas regarding policy dilemmas. Libraries of this type include:
This report, written by FIPR chairman Ross Anderson on his experience in dealing with the Millennium Bug in Cambridge University, our healthcare system and elsewhere, correctly predicted that the millennium bug would not be a big deal. (The press were not all that interested.)
A collection of some of FIPR press releases. Other press releases are within their relevant policy information centres.
A list of links to organisations that FIPR has relations with, or organisations doing related or similar work to FIPR world-wide.
FIPR won a Special Award for Service to Journalism for raising awareness of the threats posed to press freedom by the RIP Bill, at the European Online Journalism Awards 2000, and was runner-up for Liberty's Human Rights Award 2000.
The Foundation for Information Policy Research is registered in England and Wales under the Companies Act 1985 as a private company limited by guarantee (No.3574631). Application for charitable status is in progress.