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Digital Subscriptions > Prospect Magazine > October 2017 > Safety and data

Safety and data

Cyber-security has disrupted politics, with the row about Russian interference in the US election being just one example. It’s also disrupted policing: most property crime and much hate crime is now online.

A third disruption is now at hand. As we start connecting not just our laptops and phones to the internet, but cars, medical devices and other things that can kill us, safety is becoming entangled with security. This will shake up many industries— and change the way they’re regulated.

What happens when your car starts getting monthly upgrades like your laptop? This has already started—Tesla rolled out its Autopilot as a software upgrade— and other manufacturers will follow within three years. There will be real benefits; we’ll be able to improve safety as we learn from accidents. It’s unavoidable, as modern cars have dozens of embedded computers and millions of lines of code in which hackers are finding vulnerabilities. We’ll just have to keep fixing them.

But who’s going to pay for the software maintenance? The tech industry has much fatter margins than the carmakers, yet Google supports phones for only three years while Microsoft supports laptops for about five.

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About Prospect Magazine

In Prospect’s October issue: Andrew Adonis, Steve Richards, Gaby Hinsliff, Rachel Sylvester and Jennifer Williams look at the idea that leadership is the only thing that matters when it comes to elections. Adonis leads the cover package arguing exactly that point and outlining his ratings of the leaders who have competed every election in the UK and the United States since 1944—Richards offers a rebuttal. Hinsliff, Sylvester and Williams profile three potential leaders in waiting—Amber Rudd, Jo Swinson and Angela Rayner. Elsewhere in the issue we map out the potential road the UK might travel down to stay in the European Union and explore the relationship between UN Secretary General António Guterres and Donald Trump as the two prepare to meet at the UN. Also in this issue: Philip Collins on the similarities between Britain’s Brexiteers and the Gaullists of yesteryear, John Bercow explains how parliament could function better and our “View from” comes from Nairobi, where the recent election result has been annulled.