Software invisibly permeates our everyday lives. We have come to rely on such software to work correctly and efficiently. The generally accepted narrative is that any software errors that do occur can be traced back to a human operator’s actions. Software engineers know that this is merely a comforting illusion. Anomalies that manifest are not necessarily due to any operator’s actions. With the general public, and the courts, believing the opposite, it is entirely possible for some hapless yet innocent person to be blamed for anomalies and discrepancies whose actual source is a malfunction. This is what occurred in the Post Office case, which I will introduce and analyse in this talk. I will also talk about the harms done on a number of levels as a consequence of the Post Office miscarriage of justice.
Karen Renaud is a Scottish computing Scientist at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, working on all aspects of Human-Centred Security and Privacy. She was educated at the Universities of Pretoria, South Africa and Glasgow. She is particularly interested in deploying behavioural science techniques to improve security behaviours, and in encouraging end-user privacy-preserving behaviours. She collaborates with academics in five continents and incorporates findings and methodologies from multiple disciplines in her research.