Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Role of "Oversight" In Today's World

There has been a great deal written recently regarding the need for increased oversight of the Intelligence Community's growing use of new and innovative technology. However, I question whether increased oversight is the answer. The problem as I see it is that the legal/policy communities have shown that they are unable to keep up with advancements in technology and its impact on society. In my role as Executive Director of the Centre for Spatial Law and Policy I see people struggle daily with how to address important issues associated with the internet, Big Data, mobile devices and UAVs. Very soon these issues will also include Intelligent Transportation Systems and Autonomous Vehicles, Smart Grids, Augmented Reality, Smart Cities and the Internet of Things. (As an aside, many of these issues involve the power of location information.)  Increased oversight without an accompanying legal and and policy framework to address these issues is unlikely to do more than score a few political points.  The ability to conduct oversight is limited if you don't know the questions to ask and/or you don't know what the answers truly mean.  However, it is effectively eviscerated if the laws and policies are either so outdated or vague that they can quite honestly be interpreted in numerous ways.  

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