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Connected cots, talking teddies and the rise of the algorithmic child

Date & Time:
18:30 - 19:30,
Tuesday 28 January, 2020
Event Series:
OII London Lectures


Over the past two decades, debates about online safety have played catch-up as Internet technologies have transformed our lives. Initially focused on the risks of text-based interactions carried out on family-owned home computers, policies have had to adjust to deal with the challenges and opportunities posed by the rise of individually-owned mobile devices. In a new context where many families now have access to screenless Internet-connected technologies such as home assistants and smart toys, this lecture will consider first, how we keep children safe and secure in the face of such new developments, and second what impact the data economy might be having on our fundamental expectations of childhood and parenting.

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  • Name: Professor Victoria Nash
  • Affiliation: Oxford Internet Institute
  • Role:
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  • Bio: Victoria Nash is the Deputy Director, an Associate Professor, and Senior Policy Fellow at the Oxford Internet Institute (OII). In the latter role, she is responsible for connecting OII research with policy and practice. Her research interests draw on her background as a political theorist, and concern the normative policy implications of evidence characterising children’s use of Internet technologies. Recent projects have included an analysis of age verification policies as a tool for balancing the interests of children and adults online, and a review of the risks and harms faced by children online. She is currently concluding a funded research project examining the concept of the ‘algorithmic child’ and the data risks posed to children by connected toys and the Internet of Things. She holds several digital policy advisory roles, including membership of the UK Government’s multi-stakeholder UK Council on Internet Safety (UKCIS) Evidence Group, and serves on the Advisory Board of COADEC. She is frequently called on to give expert evidence in UK and EU policy consultations on broader issues such as platform governance.

    She is also Course Director of the OII’s annual course for digital policy-makers, the Internet Leadership Academy and the Summer Doctoral Programme for international PhD students.

    Prior to joining the OII in 2002, Vicki was a Research Fellow at the Institute of Public Policy Research. She received her D.Phil in Politics from Nuffield College, Oxford University in 1999, having completed an M.Phil in Politics from Magdalen College in 1996, and a BA (Hons) Degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics before this.