I am excited to work with leading technologists as part of our mission in ‘Making IT good for society’.

Our past president John and I caught up with Sharon Moore MBE FBCS, IBM’s public sector CTO on topics which matter for technologists. Sharon is an inspirational technology leader who is respected both for her ability and for inspiring women to pursue technology as a career. I was delighted to see technology leaders across sectors at our London office.

The war in Ukraine has highlighted the important role of tech in keeping the world informed and in connecting people, but current events have also highlighted the fact that technology can be used as a weapon for disinformation and cyber aggression. BCS is offering support to any Ukrainian IT practitioner who requests it. They will immediately be welcomed into the prestigious BCS membership community at no cost. I am grateful to big and small employers who have proactively reached out to support technology professionals fleeing war zones.

Helping other professionals is very much within our realm in so many different ways and I am proud that our members are committed to supporting fellow professionals in need. A team from BCS has also been speaking directly to our counterparts at The Ukraine IT Association and discussing what else we can do to help. The message they want us to spread is that ‘Ukraine is open for business’ and keen to continue working on existing contracts as well as acquire new ones to help rebuild the economy. Find out more here. 

BCS policy positions shape the legislative and regulatory framework across several countries. 

The EU is set to announce a new law forcing Big Tech to police illegal content. If it goes through, it means they’ll no longer be allowed to mark their own homework and marketers are not happy either. Content editing and free speech have been in news recently with Elon Musk’s Twitter proposal. Our members in Sri Lanka are experiencing the weaponisation of social media and disinformation campaigns.

Disinformation is dangerous but regulation alone cannot combat it. To engage widely across our diverse profession, BCS has launched the monthly BCS Policy Jam series – where we invite a panel of experts to consider critical policy issues at the intersection of IT, digital technologies and society - such as online safety, cyber security and cyberwarfare linked to the war in Ukraine. 

BCS policy has been meeting with members of our specialist groups with the aim of creating a directory of experts. Strengthening relations with the SGs has resulted in BCS members been called upon to share their knowledge and provide comment on issues in the news. For example, the Information Security Specialist Group (ISSG) chair’s views on The Works cyber-attacks were featured in The Mail Online.

As I'm sure you are aware, BCS responds to numerous government consultations through the year. Most recently we consulted with our members on the cyber security consultation ‘Embedding standards and pathways across the cyber profession by 2025’. If you haven’t already, I recommend you read the BCS response! 

We published the results of our End-to-End Encryption survey in March. It revealed that 78% of industry professionals did not believe restricting the use of such encryption in messaging would protect users. A further 66% of specialists said restricting end to end encryption would have a negative impact on protecting the society at large.

Overall, IT experts warned against limiting end-to-end encryption, as it would not make the world safer and is currently likely to cause more harm than good. Our findings were quoted widely by the media including The Daily, Mail, The Evening Standard and Computer Weekly.

Technology professionals have been making a difference across industries to solve for mankind’s biggest problems. We recently recognised Professor Penny Endersby, CEO of the Met Office for her outstanding contribution to making digital technology good for society and the environment - by awarding her the 2021 BCS Society Medal.

The criteria for the Society Medal was driven by the need to focus on the role of technology in meeting the climate change and net zero challenges set out at COP26. The BCS award panel cited her exceptional commitment to enriching weather forecasting and the predictive analysis of climate change by leading unprecedented investment in the Met Office’s IT systems.