I make it easier to discover information, so that knowledge can be used to benefit the world.
Most blog posts are oft intended as very-long twitter @replies to a hashtag, musing over a topic, rather than necessarily fully formed arguments. Conversations often work better than monologues for nuanced discussion.
Whether changing finite or infinite games by building small internet things, with the aim of improving people’s lives, often through longer term organisational support. I’ve spent the last 10+ years doing a variety of policy troublemaking. Much of that is linked from below.
For Fun (this is
somewhat very out of date)
I currently maintain BailiiStreisand to monitor BAILII, and run OpenTech – a small idiosyncratic technical conference with 3 tracks and ~700 people. I also sit on the Department of Health’s National Information Board, and the Office of National Statistics’ Beyond 2011 (Census) Privacy Advisory Group, which also covers their “Big Data” project, plus, for work, formerly sat on the care.data advisory group.
A long time ago, I was at least partially responsible for aspects of various transparency projects in the UK and beyond, including TheGovernmentSays.com (including regional and Whitehouse and UN versions, leading to Spin Different), www.commentonthis.com, www.directionlessgov.com and www.mptables.com. I also helped out a bit with WhoPaysYourDoctor.org I’ve also built stuff for, and was a volunteer with mySociety for a very long time (I’m still around a bit). I’ve also made some “interventions” in various policy areas of interest, sometimes more amusingly/productively than others. It’s mostly providing technical/digital solutions to civil issues for change. This is a nice introduction.
I tend to also have fingers in a variety of pies. I forget many of them.
The “day job”
I am currently freelancing and co-coordinator at medconfidential. From 2012-2013, I worked for Privacy International on export controls and other aspects of UK policy. For a decade, I worked (lastly) as a Research Fellow in a multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary research group, doing internet infrastructures for academic social science data for the group, national data services, and beyond. It also included a good chunk of delivery work to make some of that data available. It was mostly providing technical/digital solutions in a research context to research problems, sort of a research-(dev)Ops.
My other freelance work has worked on a range of human rights technology projects, building search engines to help rights activists track violence in Chechnya, working with large datasets about political violence in Zimbabwe, and making research about modern slavery more easy for the public to understandI have also done other work for the Nominet Trust, Indigo Trust, Web Foundation, and Open Society Foundations among others.
Irrespective of the setting, my work has repeatedly involved providing constructive challenges and innovating solutions to identified and agreed problems.
You can contact the author, Sam Smith, on email@example.com or 07980 210 746 (UK). I live in Cambridge, UK.