This POSTnote updates POSTnote 455 (January 2014), summarising the latest data on scale of use, safety and quality of electronic cigarettes, and their value as a stop smoking tool. It also explores the implications of the new EU Tobacco Products Directive and regulatory approaches in the UK.
Financial Technology (FinTech) describes the application of digital technology to financial services. This POSTnote reviews how and why FinTech is being used, and the benefits and challenges it presents to the UK.
Digital forensic science is the process of obtaining, analysing and using digital evidence in investigations or criminal proceedings. Digital evidence ranges from images of child sexual exploitation to the location of a mobile phone. This note looks at the use of digital forensics by UK law enforcement agencies. It covers how evidence is obtained, the legislation and regulation in this area, and the efforts being made to address the challenges faced by practitioners.
A POSTnote which explains the plans to introduce electronic health records for everyone. As well as background on what information such records will contain, the paper discusses the opportunities and challenges implementing them will involve.
Automated technology is increasingly used in military activities such as intelligence gathering, navigation and weapons delivery. The most widespread use of automated technology to date has been remotely piloted air systems. However, each of the main military domains – air, land and sea – make use of automation. This POSTnote outlines current and potential future applications of automation in intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and in combat. It then summarises debate over legal, ethical and societal issues, including debate over whether a pre-emptive ban is needed on future lethal autonomous weapons systems.
This note looks at developments in information and communication technology (ICT) and their relevance for UK policy in the next five years. It examines the capability, use and economic impact of ICT; technical barriers; and implications for cybersecurity, privacy and internet governance.
The growing use of smart phones and data intensive services (such as video streaming), has increased demand for both fixed and mobile internet. This POSTnote looks at patterns in broadband access and use, and the technical and policy challenges of enhancing UK broadband infrastructure to meet future needs.
Sugars can be added to food and drinks or occur naturally in fruit, vegetables and milk. A high sugar diet increases the risk of tooth decay and weight gain, and high consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks is associated with type 2 diabetes. This paper describes trends in sugar consumption in the UK, the public health implications and outlines policy options.
This POSTnote outlines different approaches to setting and measuring thresholds and their strengths and limitations. It also summarises research on recent trends in living standards and the key factors that influence them.
A very small proportion of websites use sophisticated anonymity systems, which allow their operators to conceal their identity if they wish to. This part of the web is commonly referred to as the darknet. The darknet helps citizens to protect their security and privacy and to circumvent censorship. It also facilitate organised crime, such as the billion dollar drug market known as Silk Road. This POSTnote discusses the challenge of preventing such crimes without compromising the other uses of anonymity technologies.
This POSTnote examines key factors affecting the growth of big data in transport and current and future applications, focusing on road and public transport. It also explores challenges to opening up, collecting, disseminating and using big data, and to sharing data whilst protecting users’ privacy.
This POSTnote outlines the different types and aims of these currencies. It also sets out how alternative currencies are being used and highlights regulatory and policy challenges regarding consumer protection, financial crime and taxation and benefits.