“I dream of wayward gulls and all landless lovers, rare moments of winter sun, peace, privacy, for everyone.” [William F. Claire]

My former manager once told me she thought of me as Jiminy Cricket, the conscience of our tech and business change project.

I’ve always enjoyed making systems work for people, helping people avoid  working more for the system.

I’m passionate about defending our human rights in an increasingly machine-driven world.

Privacy is a fundamental human right recognized in the UN Declaration of Human Rights  and the UK Human Rights Act 1998, and is at the heart of my campaign work calling on the Department for Education for better handling of national pupil data that I coordinated at defenddigitalme since 2015.

I supported the development of Guidelines on Children’s Data Protection in an Education Setting, adopted in 2020 by the Council of Europe Committee on Convention 108.

As a teen I considered becoming a graphic designer or a forensic scientist. Aged six I wrote a chalk letter to the Queen which I posted secretly, stampless, asking her for world peace. In between then and now I didn’t do much about it. Now I better appreciate that if we want to see change, we need to make it happen.

While on a work break for maternity I was an  interviewer for the writers’ magazine The View From Here and for seven years before it closed its doors in October 2014. (Personal favourites were with Barry Cunningham, Patrick Gayle and Isabel Allende but there were lots of favourites.) Thus I was known as The Amateur Book Blogger from 2006, and my twitter handle became TheABB.

Since 2014 almost anything I write has been about government plans to use personal data from education, health, and other parts of the public sector, for purposes beyond our reasonable expectations. I’ve listened to lots of voices at many public events, shared and encouraged others’ engagement, and spent 2 years on the ADRN panel discussing uses of administrative data in research.

My personal posts here may be about anything that grabs my attention. Writing related things. Sometimes art, clouds or bees.  I love volcanoes, and deserts; thinking about economics and politics.  But mainly data things.

My blog title & header are inspired by L. Susan Stebbing. I’m inspired by others’ thoughts, random acts of kindness,  and the sea.

Travel light. Love films. I’m always learning something new.

Mostly constructive. Sometimes cross. Occasionally on target. “Thank you for your consideration.”


My favourite mug is shown in my header & twitter account: L. Susan Stebbing’s cover from her book, Thinking to some Purpose.

“This metaphor seems to me to be appropriate, because potted thinking is easily accepted, is concentrated in form, and has lost the vitamins essential to mental nourishment. […]  the critical questioning at times of our potted beliefs is necessary for the development of our capacity to think to some purpose.”

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Thinking to some purpose