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Bill Thompson is a regular BBC commentator on the BBC World Service programme Digital Planet and writes for various mainstream newspapers and journals. He is in many regards a pioneer of modern Internet usage, helped formulate the Labour Party's Internet policy in the mid-1990's as well as work for other politicians. He has also worked as a freelance journalist, author, web developer, consultant and policy advisor. More >>


Stephen Mason is a barrister and a door tenant at St Pauls Chambers, Leeds, with an interest in electronic signatures, authentication, security, electronic evidence, e-mail and internet use, and interception and monitoring of communications. He is the Director of the Digital Evidence Research Programme at the British Institute of International and Comparative Law, and an Associate Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies. More >>


Bill Thompson is a well-known technology critic and commentator on digital culture. A pioneer of new media in the UK, Bill was Internet ambassador for PIPEX in the early 1990’s and founded The Guardian’s New Media Lab in 1995, setting up and editing the first Guardian website. Since leaving The Guardian he has worked as a freelance journalist, author, web developer, consultant and policy advisor. He spends most of his time in the space where technology, journalism, cultural practice and politics meet and intermingle, trying to make sense of the new forms of expression and engagement that the wired world allows.

His weekly column on the BBC News website, the Billboard, is widely read and attracts a great deal of comment on blogs and bulletin boards, while ‘Digital Planet’, the BBC World Service technology programme on which he appears as a studio expert, has a worldwide audience. Bill is a visiting lecturer in the Journalism department of City University, London, where he teaches on the postgraduate courses which are generally recognised as the best in the UK, and he is the editor and head of technology for the popular website for MPs and their staff, He writes obituaries of major figures in computer science and the computing industry for The Times.

Bill is one of the tutors for the Theatrical Management Association’s highly-regarded course on the Essentials of Marketing, which takes place at Druidstone in Wales each year. He has developed the Internet marketing module for the course, and is currently working on the advanced marketing course.

As well as writing Bill is engaged in the development of policy around the growing capabilities of the Internet. He was an advisor to the Labour Party on its Internet policy and helped to write 'Communicating Britain's Future' in 1995.

He was a member of the steering group for the ippr’s Manifesto for a Digital Britain and the recently launched review of Intellectual Property in a Digital Age. He was an associate of the Work Foundation for several years, working with the digital society team, and has advised on projects for Demos. He also works with the Internet safety charity Childnet International as an advisor and as an author for their net training materials, including ‘Know It All for Parents’, a CDROM funded by the Department for Education and Skills.

Bill is an experienced and effective public speaker, noted for his abiility to present complex technical issues in an accessible and entertaining style. Among other topics he has given talks on the history and future of the Internet and associated technologies, the growth and importance of blogging and user-generated content, computer security, the future of the Web and the reality of ‘Web 2.0’, e-democracy and the social impact of the Internet, and the ways that the Web can be used in marketing the arts and cultural activities.

He is also skilled as a facilitator and convenor for large and small-scale events. In 2006 he presented the New Statesman New Media Awards with David Miliband MP, and recently chaired a roundtable discussion on ‘ICT and modernisation’ at Westminster. He has chaired discussions at many conferences, including the RFID Forum and the Digital Identity Forurm, and will be chairing a session at the forthcoming Oxford Media Convention with senior representatives from Ofcom and DCMS.

Bill is an experienced teacher and tutor, and has developed and delivered practical workshops on the use of new technologies over many years. He is currently developing material on the practical aspects of blogging, podcasting, vodcasting and the use of social network sites.


As far as he is aware, he was the first lawyer to write an e-book in 1999 on the Y2K issue, and he was also the first barrister to write a set of e-commerce precedents for lawyers on behalf of the Butterworths Tolley Electronic Business Law web site in 2000. Stephen drafted the evidence part of the ISEB syllabus for the Certificate in IT Law Foundation, established in 2005.

Stephen is the author and editor of Electronic Evidence: Disclosure, Discovery & Admissibility (LexisNexis Butterworths, 2007), and the author of Electronic Signatures in Law (LexisNexis Butterworths, 2003) and E-Mail, Networks and the Internet: A Concise Guide to Compliance with the Law (xpl publishing, 6th edn, 2006).

He is also the electronic and digital signatures editor and author of Chapter VI ‘Electronic and Digital Signatures’ for the practitioner loose-leaf textbook by M-T. Michéle Rennie International Computer and Internet Contracts and Law (Sweet & Maxwell) and the general editor of the Digital Evidence Journal, [].



Paper, scissors, stone: Business, law and politics – the E and M-Commerce debate