Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Ed Lewis

(Re)insurance specialist Ed Lewis is guiding us all through cyberspace. This forward-thinking lawyer in the EC3 team at Weightmans is working hard to raise awareness, particularly in the insurance industry, of how seismic the change is that the internet age is bringing, both in terms of how we do business and the legal issues and risks that surround it. Cars increasingly resemble digital devices (before you even mention driverless ones). Services businesses store pretty much their entire intellectual capital in cyber space these days. "The business world has silently slipped into cyber space over the last decade with most people still not really understanding the legal and risk consequences that arise from this" Ed says.

"In essence it's quite simple" he tells me. "It's about all the old familiar risks, just manifesting in new ways. The mistake is often made that "cyber risk" exists in a separate space from other insurable risks. But it is pervasive. The "cyber" revolution impacts every aspect of our business and personal lives."

I heard recently from a group of scientists and legal/ethics academics at John Flood's recent You, Robot! event at the University of Westminster (billed as an exploration of what it means to regulate artificial intelligence) that apparently we have become a different species since the internet revolution. (It must be true. A scientist told me.) That's how radical all this change is and how deep it goes.

I press Ed to tell me more about the implications for businesses and those that insure them, but he's keeping his powder dry. He is conducting a survey with Insurance Day just now, exploring the (re)insurance industry's comprehension of, and comfort around, Cyber Risk and results are due soon. He promises to tell me more as soon as the results are public. I'll hold him to it, don't you worry... and report back to all of you soon. 

A great initiative, Ed. Truly market leading.
A threat to national security will always diminish public concern for individual human rights. Should we really worry whether our authorities are squeaky clean in their detainment and interrogation of suspected terrorists? Surely different rules apply? And it's pointless, isn't it, to pussyfoot around the "innocent until proven guilty" principle, when we all know a short sharp interrogation with a bit of physical threat behind it can unearth vital information foiling terrorist plots and saving thousands of lives. Right? Thankfully Freedom From Torture is there to remind us that if we let individual human rights roll back at times like these, innocent people will suffer because brutal regimes know they can get away with it.

The charity took the occasion of their 30th anniversary to promote a campaign to stop "the backsliding of anti-torture legislation", pointing out the human rights abuses perpetrated by governments in the midst of the current refugee crisis as a classic example of how ordinary people suffer as a result. See their website for more information.

If this is a subject close to your heart you'll appreciate this magazine supplement produced by Amnesty, detailing the numerous different and complex aspects of the refugee crisis.
Cheering news this week that for 2016 the infamous Pirelli calendar will profile women of influence... and over more than just male pulse rates. And the women are all fully clothed too! 

This is revolution not evolution: even just last year, the photocall for this "artwork" famous for objectifying the female form was dominated by models scantily-clad... in latex! 

For 2016 the photographer is Annie Liebovitz and she has chosen to create a classic set of portraits... of women she believes have achieved something special. Serena Williams, Yoko Ono, Patti Smith all feature. A sign of changing times? I hope so.

Appropriate news in a week that Suffragette was chosen as the movie to open BFI's London Film Festival. Starring Carey Mulligan, Anne-Marie Duff, and Helena Bonham Carter with a cameo from Meryl Streep (as Emmeline Pankhurst)... who all joined me on the red carpet at the premier in Leicester Square. (Honest! Well, I was on the red carpet at the same time as them at least!) Just thought I'd mention that.

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