Annual Digital Lecture

Exploration of digital ideas is an important part of our archival work. The Annual Digital Lecture offers the opportunity to hear from a leading speaker on a topic related to digital research, along with a poster exhibition showcasing the innovative digital work taking place at The National Archives.

Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, the 2020 Annual Digital Lecture has been cancelled until further notice.

The National Archives is closed to visitors. Please see our news story for updates.

The death of anonymity in the age of identity, 2 April 2020

This year’s speaker is Carly Kind, Director of the Ada Lovelace Institute. She will be speaking on ‘The death of anonymity in the age of identity’. The lecture will be followed by a poster display of digital research at The National Archives.

The global datafication of economy, society and politics has rendered humans into constellations of datapoints. Technologies measure, monitor, predict and classify to enable personalization in the online and offline worlds alike, and we are increasingly offered bespoke realities: advertising, healthcare, government services, and recommendations uniquely targeted to us.

The price is persistent identification: everywhere we go and everything we do is tracked by private and public actors seeking to ‘resolve’ our identities and paint ever more granular pictures of us as both consumers and citizens. The right to remain anonymous is being squeezed out, as we’re asked to handover our identification, our faces, our social media profiles, our email addresses at every turn.

Last year’s lecture was on the topic of the ‘Algorithms of Oppression’. You can watch a video from the event here.