Friday, 10 July 2015

Caspar Bowden

Privacy expert and activist Caspar Bowden died recently. There's been a real sense of shock and sadness amongst the privacy, data protection, digital rights communities that I'm connected to. I didn't know Caspar as well as others (there are some very fitting tributes) but I liked and respected him and his work.

I first met Caspar in the context of a Identity in the Information Society (IDIS) project workshop in Rome, where we ended up sitting next to each other at dinner. We spoke about the UK ID cards debate, which I'd been writing about for my PhD, but Caspar had been much more actively involved with. His insight on why particular UK news papers had adopted the various stances they did in the issue ran entirely against the grain of how I was thinking about fairly depersonalised, institutional "discourse". Since then, we've spoken in the context of other conferences and workshops and on twitter. He's on that short mental list that hovers in the back of your mind as you write acting as a quality check - "will Caspar think I'm an idiot if I write this?". I also always enjoyed it when Caspar asked a question at a conference (maybe because I wasn't ever on the receiving end).

 Sad loss.