Actions and consequences: what will 2016 present?


2015 was a stepping-stone year in the evolution of technology and people’s behaviours, with events that gave us greater insight into actions and consquences.

A big one is the thorny matter of balancing the long-held expectation of individual privacy – regarded as a fundamental right in many countries – and freedoms of expression with the requirement of government to safeguard its citizens in today’s world where acts of freely expressing opinion can have dire consequences.

Enter plans to enable government to know everything about everyone when they go online as part of the ways in which they believe they will be able to protect citizens. Is that the best balance? And do we have a choice anymore?

While we expect our government to protect us, what about private organizations? What responsibility do they have? And what should we do ourselves?

The intersection of all this is the internet, a collective term that embraces the world wide web, social networks and scores of digital methods public and private that people use to connect with other people anywhere in the world.

While not usually life-threatening, these are equally thorny issues it seems to me.

Last year, we saw a whole host of events that have pushed all of this into the forefront of awareness that has even yet to be taken seriously by many people.

Ashley Madison, Talk Talk, VTech… just three examples of events in 2015 that had significant consequences in areas of privacy,  identity and data protection. In one case (Ashley Madison), deaths.

Such matters were on my mind in thinking about what the digital and online landscapes will look like in 2016. It prompted this post as a placeholder that I can look back on during the year as we see how events unfold. It also enables me to share a great conversation I had with Georgie Frost on her Consuming Issues show on Share Radio UK a few weeks ago that was broadcast over the Christmas and New Year period.

Take a listen to our Future Tech special where Neville Hobson joins Georgie Frost to take a look at the big technology stories that hit the headlines this year including asking whether 2015 was the year of the hack, whether the Apple watch lived up to the hype, why pop star Taylor Swift had some “bad blood” with music streaming services, and why we couldn’t stop droning on about drones.

Happy New Year.

(Image at top via Wikimedia, Creative Commons)

Neville Hobson

Social Strategist, Communicator, Writer, and Podcaster with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Believer in an Internet for everyone. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.

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