May 2008 Archives

Who would you trust with your e-mail content: Google or GCHQ?

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At the FIPR 10th birthday I was fascinated to hear an attack on HMG plans to record all on-line communications by a well-known civil liberties activitist who makes a point of using g-mail: because it is not Microsoft. There is an increasingly surreal quality to some of the debate over what is ethical. 

Why do we never learn and keep replicating failure?

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There have been many successful public sector systems, some very very large like the original computerisation of PAYE in the 1980s. There is much excellent guidance on how to do IT properly. But the National Plan for IT failed for very similar reasons to HISS or the DSS Operational Strategy over two decades ago. Why do we never learn?

Usable by ordinary human beings: the route to e-inclusion

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Most government on-line systems are inaccessible to most of those of those they are most intended to serve - was my personla summary of the of the introductory discussions at the EU workshop on Ethics and e-Inclusion that I attended on Monday. The consequences are not only unethical, they are indefensible by almost any measure other than technophilia.

Philip Virgo nominated for New Statesmen New Media Award

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NominatedRebecca Froley, deputy web editor for, congratulates Philip on being nominated for a New Statesman New Media Award,

I hope Philip won't mind me interrupting the flow of his blog to bring this news to his readers! Philip's blog has been nominated for an award in the 'Inform and Educate' category of the New Media Awards.

The Awards, now in their tenth year, champion individuals and organisations who are using the new media to benefit society, and Philip's nomination recognises his use of the 'When IT Meets Politics' blog to campaign for change in UK and European IT policy.

To support Philip's nomination, please follow the link from the button to add your comments to those already registered.

And don't forget, you can also nominate your favourite IT-related blogs for one of Computer Weekly's IT Blog Awards.

Normal service will now resume. Thank you! (Rebecca Froley, Deputy Web Editor,

Why do we never learn? - The key to successful delivery

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Earlier this year I was asked to update a presentation that I did five years ago on why all the guidance material on how to deliver complex systems to time and budget is commonly ignored. The result, edited to remove a little of the more intemperate vitriol, is now published.

The immorality of putting the naive and vulnerable on-line

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How ethical is it to try to persuade the socially-excluded and digitally naive to go on-line when you are not going to provide them with easy to use and secure access or keep the data they enter secure from predators, fraudsters or those who would use it to enforce the "honour" of the family, clan, school, gang or other community?

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