Keyboard warriors. It’s a phrase used to – rightly – label and challenge those who hide behind their laptops and devices, churning out aggressive or abusive internet posts or comments.
And yet, Britain is being kept safe day-in, day-out, but people who are actually battling – through their laptops – on behalf of our citizens.
This real ‘keyboard warrior work’ is done by committed citizens whose jobs you probably don’t even know exist – and that’s not because they are spies!
In this context we don’t mean cyber security or intelligence work.
You might usually consider ‘defence’ or ‘security’ to be about our armed forces and military activity.
At SVGC, we certainly are proud of our support for, and work with, our nation’s armed forces, the Ministry of Defence, the Foreign Office and the Home Office. Indeed, SVGC was founded by ex-military personnel and so defence and security is in an intrinsic part of our heritage.
And the story that we want to highlight and celebrate today is one that doesn’t appear to get as much traction as the – very much deserved – recognition of our military folk.
It’s a story of many civilians (some but not all ex-military) with deep integrity working incredibly hard to protect the British public – in the un-glamorous world of analysis, optimisation of processes, document handling and data science.
National security relies on the U.K. being able to engage in diplomatic relations with nations around the globe. Nations often work together to keep the country safe from those with malicious intent who seek information with which to manipulate and fuel campaigns that would cause great harm to the public.
An example of the ways that SVGC have worked with the UK Government to frustrate the aims of those who wish to harm, is to help them to ensure that, when released, their digital records do not contain information that could be dangerous in the wrong hands.
There is information in our documents that, by exception, needs to be kept from the public in order to keep us all safe whilst the threats are neutralised or destabilised.
It is important that this is done with a level of reassurance of auditable transparency that can be provided to the public and within the rules defined by the Freedom of Information Act.
The impacts of misinformation being maliciously spread can be catastrophic, and the U.K. releases information to the public as transparently as is safe – including through legal Requests for Information – and also once the twenty-year rule for Government records has expired.
Every UK Government department is required to transfer all public records to the National Archives, demonstrating full transparency of processes and public spending.
Before the records can be transferred, they are required to go through a sensitivity review to redact any sensitive information.
This is not an easy task – not least due to sheer volume and the complexity of information. Previous to our working in this space, if a piece of information on a page that was being considered for release was sensitive, there was no option but to redact the entire page – as there was no sophisticated technology to enable this to be separated out from the rest of the information on the page.
Working with UK Government departments to address this, we created an incredibly unique capability through fusion of the technologies; the approach to combinations of AI solutions; and the rigor of the document pipeline, which now provides full auditability of the record flow.
Our new technology allows information to be redacted at a word level, as opposed to page level resulting in much greater transparency for the public and increasing trust in our government and democratic process.
The use of “bleeding-edge” software and solution technologies meant that we are able to alleviate pressures on highly skilled Sensitivity Reviewers by accelerating the review and reducing risk by highlighting areas of known sensitivity.
By using this technology within this project, we are helping even more government departments use processes which have massively increased efficiency and reduced their costs, which is also of huge benefit to every U.K. taxpayer.
You can read the full case study of this project here.
So, let’s hear it for those working in and with Government departments on projects such as these.
They may not wear a uniform; they may not have a day to be celebrated, and sometimes they cannot even share the work that they do publicly.
But they’re there…behind the keyboards, using their innovation and creativity to keep us all safe. Active, not obvious.
SVGC believe in supporting the public sector…and we are proud to be part of this unsung crew of heroes keeping the nation safe.