Online harms: how can technologists and regulators build a safer internet?

Brought to you by The Engineering Trust Group

Following the release of the Online Harms White Paper, this event will examine the technical and regulatory challenges of making the UK the safest place in the world to go online.

About the event

The purely utopian view of the Internet was never credible. Especially as we now know that the Internet can be used to facilitate different forms of harm, such as cyber bullying, hate speech, promotion of terrorism, and the depiction of child abuse. User generated content on the Internet is not subject to the usual editorial controls and legal remedies associated with the traditional media.

In June 2019’s Online Harms White Paper, the UK government stated that the digital economy urgently needs a new regulatory framework to improve our citizens’ safety online. These problems challenge regulators, technology developers and business leaders to come up with disruptive solutions that will create new opportunities in this market-place.

By presenting these problems in front of a diverse group of key influencers and entrepreneurs, this series of events is aiming to come up with solutions which could take us a step closer to a safer internet.

This event will feature three short presentations that address these questions and will conclude with an open forum. This event starts with networking over refreshments and pizza with the talks starting at 18:00. This event is kindly hosted by the PwC.

Employees of CW member organisations can attend this event for free. You will need to be logged into your CW account to access your free ticket – log in (or reset your password) here.

Tickets for non-members are £75 plus VAT. CW membership may be more cost effective for your organisation than fully priced tickets – find out more about CW membership benefits.

LIMITED FREE PLACES AVAILABLE for non-members who are under 35.  CW wants to engage with, and foster the next generation of technologists, engineers and academics. If you would like to register for one of these tickets, then please email to receive a discount code.

You can follow @cambwireless on Twitter and tweet about this event using #CWTrust.

Hosted by PwC UK

At PwC, our purpose is to build trust in society and solve important problems. Working across artificial intelligence, life sciences and AgriTech industry sectors with businesses in the region.

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The information supplied below may be subject to change before the event.


Registration and networking over beers and pizza


Introduction to CW from Simon Mead, CEO, CW (Cambridge Wireless)


Welcome from event host, John Dow, Business Development Manager, PwC


Fred Langford, Deputy CEO/Chief Technical Officer & Emma Douglas, Director of Development at Internet Watch Foundation (IWF)


Dr Jennifer Cobbe, Researcher and Affiliated Lecturer, Department of Computer Science and Technology (Computer Laboratory), University of Cambridge

‘Online Harms and the Age of the Algorithm’

Jennifer will look at some problems with approaches to addressing online harms that focus on ‘harmful’ but otherwise lawful content itself. Instead, she will argue that regulation should look primarily towards the algorithmic dissemination of content on social platforms.


Tim Winchcomb, Head of Technology Strategy in Wireless and Digital Services, Cambridge Consultants

'Using artificial intelligence to clean up the internet'

Harmful online content can take many forms and varies from the clearly outright unacceptable to the contextual and subtle. Human moderators can successfully identify much of this harmful content, but in practice can only review a small proportion of it. The latest breakthroughs in artificial intelligence (AI), in particular in machine learning, hold great promise for scaling up these efforts and relieving human moderators of this difficult and deeply unpleasant job, but its use raises worrying issues as well.

Tim will discuss the capabilities and limitations of AI in identifying harmful content, how it can assist human moderators and how it can be used to ‘nudge’ internet users into posting less harmful material in the first place.


Panel session with all speakers chaired by SIG Champion, Tim Phipps from Samsung


Closing remarks and event ends


Jennifer Cobbe - Researcher and Affiliated Lecturer, University of Cambridge

Dr Jennifer Cobbe is a researcher and Affiliated Lecturer in the Department of Computer Science and Technology (Computer Laboratory) at the University of Cambridge, where she is part of the Compliant and Accountable Systems research group. She is also the Coordinator of the interdisciplinary Trust & Technology Initiative at Cambridge, a Postdoctoral Research Associate at Queens' College, Cambridge, part of the Microsoft Cloud Computing Research Centre, and a member of the Law Committee of the IEEE's Global Initiative on the Ethics of Autonomous and Intelligent Systems. Working closely with computer scientists, her research looks at law and regulation of new and emerging technologies (typically but not exclusively involving AI/machine learning). She is interested in legal responses to new technologies, online platforms, and automation; technical mechanisms for improving legal compliance and accountability of complex systems; and theoretical approaches to privacy, surveillance, and tech industry business models. Current research projects focus on legal standards for automated decision-making and the development of legally compliant and reviewable automated systems; regulation of algorithmic personalisation and targeting in online services; and the prospects of various technical means for facilitating compliance with legal and regulatory requirements.

Emma Douglas - Director of Development, Internet Watch Foundation

Emma joined the IWF in September 2018 and is responsible for generating the income needed to fulfil our goal of an internet free of child sexual abuse material and a safe place for children and adults around the world.  This includes overseeing the membership function and our work in partnership with the internet industry to eliminate online child sexual abuse imagery.

With a degree in marketing and 11 years of fundraising experience, Emma has worked across different sectors in the not for profit field including health, disability and environmental charities.  

She leads a talented, supportive and engaged team who are all hugely excited about the next chapter for IWF and working with others who are as passionate about this cause.

Fred Langford - Deputy CEO/Chief Technical Officer , Internet Watch Foundation

Fred joined the IWF in December 2004 and is the Deputy CEO and Chief Technology Officer. Fred has over 25 years’ experience in across a variety of sectors primarily focusing on the internet, its technology, security, safety and regulation. 

Fred is President of the International Hotline Association (INHOPE), Chair of the UK Council for Internet Safety, Technical Working Group (UKCIS TWG), Board Member of the UK Home Office Child Abuse Image Database Strategic Group, Member of the National Crime Agency (NCA) Prevent Strategic Board, a founding Director of the UK Safer Internet Centre and is an expert advisor to UK and other Governments, Parliamentarians, The Commonwealth, Police and NGOs.

Fred is a Chartered Director (ChDir) and Fellow of the Institute of Directors (FIoD) and a Certified Information Security Professional (CISSP).

In 2019 Fred was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the University of Suffolk for outstanding achievement in addition to being a finalist for Digital Leader of the year, and runner-up for New Chartered Director of the Year in 2017.

Tim Winchcomb - Head of Technology Strategy in Wireless and Digital Services, Cambridge Consultants

Tim leads the Technology Strategy Group in the Wireless and Digital Services Division. He advises clients on the impact of technology on their business strategy, with a particular focus on artificial intelligence and wireless communications technologies.

He has 20 years of experience in the high-tech sector, ranging from product development to commercial strategy. His recent work has included the barriers and enablers to making the most of the capabilities of artificial intelligence and machine learning. He led the team which produced a recent report on behalf of Ofcom on the use of AI for moderating harmful online content.

SIG Champions

Paul Morris - CTO, Independent

Paul is highly successful in taking new technologies to market in startups, scale ups and large organisations.   He has significant experience leading multi-disciplined teams in engineering and product management in a wide range of technologies including 5G mmWave, Bluetooth, IoT, NFC, GPS, DECT, 3G and semiconductors.  He's held various senior management positions most recently at CCS, Qualcomm and CSR.  He is a CW SIG Champion for the Engineering Trust SIG, has a First Class BSc (Hons) in Electronic Engineering and is an author of multiple patents.

Tim Phipps - Programme Manager, Samsung Cambridge (SCSC)

Tim sees Cambridge Wireless as a way to build the network of relationships that drive business growth and a better society for us all. Tim works to develop communications on technologies from their earliest beginnings to mass market adoption, including WiFi, Bluetooth and cellular chipsets and software. His experience includes working as an engineer, programme manager, and product manager.

Event Location

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Location info

PwC, The Maurice Wilkes Building, St John’s Innovation Park, Cowley Road, Cambridge, CB4 0DS

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