July 2009 Archives

Valuable asset or toxic liability: 'Is there something you should know?'

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Yesterday the Audit Commission published the results of one of its national studies: 'Is there something I should know?'  It is a great study, clearly written, on how Local Authorities can and should improve the way they prepare and present information to aid policy decisions.

Negotiate don't litigate as your outsource contracts crumple

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From Rail Franchises through School and Hospital PFIs to ICT "Frameworks", outsourcing contracts of all types are facing similar problems with regard to disputes resolution. The collapse of in-house relationship management skills (from the departments of state and their agencies to local government) has been matched by a similar hollowing out in thier delivery partners. 

Long live the database state

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The FIPR Alerts service has just drawn my attention to an excellent article in Prospect headlined; "Long linve the database state: smarter use of public service statistics can save lives as well as money. But anxious civil libertarians want to stop the state sharing our personal records. They must not succeed. " 

A Cartel Masquerading as Anarchy: Internet Governance revisited

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Last year I blogged on evolution of the Internet into one of the most concentrated mediums the wrold has ever known. Whether it is operating system, browser, search engine, landline or radio modem, most of us have a realistic choice of less than half a dozen suppliers for our access channel and many have none. The approach of Karoo to Internet policing as reported by the BBC illustrates the possible conseqences  

Removing the biggest road block on the UK superhighway

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The biggest single barrier to joined-up investment in low cost, resilient UK broadband is the impact of business rates on new build by other than incumbent operators. It not only deters private sector investment, it blocks the use of joined-up partnerships to pull through community broadband, as in most other parts of the world - from rural America to urban Europe.

Security by accident - as opposed to design

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I spent yesterday in meetings on Information Governance, including how to get the concepts across to political audiences. The best idea I heard was "Grand Info-Scam" in which journalists,   spooks, fraudsters, blackmailers and terrorists compete to collect personal information, by whatever means, including by eavesdropping on each other.

Iranian democracy expires with a Tweet

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The rapid extinction of Iran's bloggers and tweeters shows the vulnerability of any movement that relies on the Internet to help it seriously challenge a ruling elite. But a few years ago the fuel protesters came close to crippling the UK inside 72 hours, without intending to do so. They used only mobile phones and CB radio: then and now social networking technologies of choice for truckers, farmers and taxi drivers. 

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