July 2008 Archives

The transformation of government begins: burying good news instead of spinning bad

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The GC Weekly  newsletter was headed "A dim way to bury good news": referring to the way that Transformational Government - our progress in 2007  had been included in the slew of reports rushed out just before the start of the recess. That set me to wondering why the publication of an account of genuine success mixed with thoughful comment and "real" news should be delayed and then "leaked" rather than launched.

Transforming Public Service Delivery: Let the People Speak

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Yesterday I blogged on the government announcements that were "leaked" last week. Today an even more radical recommendation on how to help ensure successful transformation of the delivery of public services in the UK has a similarly low-key launch. The recommendation is for those who wish to have responsibility for delivery to work with and through the Select Committees of Parliament to provide continuity of input on "good practice": from policy formation, through pre-legislative scrutiny to performance monitoring      

IPR Wars - will recession concentrate the mind?

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Depending on who you talk to, the government-brokered "memorandum of understanding" between the record and film industries and six leading ISPs, (under which the latter will write to those whose systems are supposedly used to exchange "illegally copied" material), is "a long overdue outbreak of common sense" or "the thin end of the wedge". Either way, the economic, not just legal, importance of the BERR consultation is profound.       

A crisis of quality not quantity: the UK IT Skills Market

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I have tracked IT recruitment advertising for over 30 years to compare what is happening in the market place with predictions, before it shows in official statistics, if at all . 25 years ago I stopped collecting my own data in favour of using Salary Services Limited . Their report for Quarter 2 2008 has, as usual, helped make sense of apparently conflicting evidence.

Reality hits the on-line world: or is it just maturity?

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Despite the "Walmart effect" of consumers going on-line for bargains as the recession deepens, Google saw a fall in the number of US users "clicking through" to advertisments in Quarter 2, compared to Quarter 1. This was said to be an effect of economic gloom but I suspect it is more a sign that users are becoming reluctant to click on what they do not know and are migrating from browsing to social networking.    

The world of vishing - voice over IP phishing

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The Voice over IP phishing scams are getting ever more imaginative. Last year I had to disconnect and ring the operator to break the connection to an overseas premium rate call when I accepted a reversed charges call after hearing a faint voice cry help, before the operator cut in. But a call today made my wife's day. 

Who do you trust to rebuild confidence in the on-line world?

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The Data Sharing Review from Richard Thomas and Mark Walport brings a breath of fresh air to a feotid debate. Now comes the campaign to prevent the recommendations from being obfuscated and watered down by those who do well out of the current confusion as well as those making serious money from the acquisition, aggregation and resale of personal data without informed consent, let alone choice, on the part of the subject. . 

A latter day Cannery Row; filtering the cybercrud

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On Tuesday I chaired a debate between the proponents of PEGI, the European rating standard proposed by the Games Industry and the supporters of the rating system run by the British Board of Film Classification at the Westminster Media Forum seminar on the UK Computer Games Industry. The UK has now slipped from 3rd to 4th as a global player, overtaken by Canada, with its targetted tax incentives for the jobs of the future.  

Oil and Vinegar: Why we must spice up ICT education

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When Dick Vinegar questioned the value of current University ICT courses, citing the views of his grandson, he kicked open a hornets nest. I was therefore delighted to offer a guest blog to the Council of Professors and Heads of Computing to explain why he was both right and wrong.

Self-policed e-paradise or a vigilante-ruled e-anarchy?

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Over 20% of the population of the world and over 60% of that of the UK population now use the Internet to do business, learn or play. The proportion of criminals who use it to identify and exploit victims is at least similar.  So who is policing it - everyone or no-one?

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