October 2009 Archives

Citizen or Subject - the root politics of personal identity?

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On Wednesday I was a guest at a conference which brought together delegates from Central Government departments and their would-be suppliers to discuss Identity and Information issues. There was a common assumption among the delegates that it was a self evident truth that we all need coherent electronic identities within frameworks regulated by government

 

What is not different about the Internet?

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I enjoyed Government 2010 on Thursday despite the tunnel vision of enthusiasts who believe the Internet changes everything but will nonetheless be much the same in 2015 as it is today. That may, unfortunately, be true in the UK where the Digital Britain vision is still only for one-way video-streaming rather than the "competing inter-active, broadcast quality video networks to the home" that was the vision of the last Government for 2002.

What is different about Public Sector Systems?

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Much rubbish is said about the differences between public and private sector - often to justify centralised empire-building or reluctance to clarify objectives and set priorities. But there are some genuine fundamental differences. Failure to recognise them has doomed several well-intentioned systems to help those in most need.  

Getting more for less: the reform of public service delivery

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IT suppliers find it hard to understand the animosity to them from politicians when they are blamed for "failure" despite having done all that the contract said. The reason is that the politicians remember being told that the new system will do whatever they want - but not that they had to be clear about what they wanted - and were not allowed to change their minds.

Why didn't we celebrate the 40th Birthday of the Internet?

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Is it because most of the closed community which controls the Internet wish to avoid taking responsibility for their actions/inaction by pretending it is an immature but precocious child?

Why does each generation of technology devotees feel compelled to repeat the mistakes of the last one - like teenagers discovering sex?

Who wants Cloud computing other than to avoid national regulators?

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Several players want to brief MPs and candidates on Cloud Computing. Why should politicians be interrested? Is it any more than the global data centres of Google and IBM and Microsoft outflanking those of EDS and Fujitsu? Who is willing to address the political issues of responsibility for resilience and content and liability for service failure or abuse? 

Is Statutory Internet Regulation inevitable?

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In his introductory comments to the Parliament and the Internet Conference today, Ed Richards seemed to think that the transition of Ofcom from a Broadcast to an Internet regulator was inevitable, as content and viewing habits moved across, albeit it raised many questions of practicality.

The power and the frailty of Internet Free Speach

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Whether it was Guido Fawkes or the Twitterers, this morning saw a demonstration of the power of the blogocracy in overcoming the attempt to stop the Guardian from publishing questions tabled in parliament. Not only was the list of full questions posted in comments on Guido's blog but so were links to the full texts of the Minton report on Trafigura and of the Barclays Tax Avoidance schemes and a mass of scuttlebutt on other Carter Ruck clients.    

The crumbling of the innocent carrier defence?

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"Jury exacts $32m million penalty from ISPs for supporting crminal websites" One of the topics of conversation at all the Party Conferences was the need to address the dark side of the Internet. There is a common view that the same law should apply on-line as off-line. But on-line specfic legislation equally commonly turns into attempts to give players exemption from off-line liabilities because "it is too difficult too ...", "we are an immature technology ..." etc.   

Conservative Dragons give priority to the jobs of the future

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The Information Society Alliance (EURIM) Policy Dragons Den in Manchester was the only one to proceed to a vote. Under the crisp chairmanship of Kemi Adegoke (Candidate for Dulwich and West Norword) there was some distressingly well informed roasting of the IT industry's track record of delivery and a lively argument over the desirability and practicality of cleaning up (alias censoring) the Internet, The twelve parliamentary candidates on the panel then gave clear priority to removing the barriers to enterprise and job creation.

Full house for broadband in Manchester

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Sixty delegates crammed into a room for 40 for the Conservative Technology Forum meeting on "Accessible broadband for all" at the party conference. Perhaps the high spot of the discussion was a speaker volunteering to deliver 2 megs inside two weeks and upgrading it to ten megs next spring, in response to a question from a Councillor representing a nonspot in the South East  

How real is the threat of e-crime?

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In 1995, during the run up to the Atlanta Olympics, I attended a meeting at which security and protection against malpractice were identified as central to the future of the Internet. That scare was premature. Now we are being told that organised crime has finally caught up with the opportunities on offer and time has run out. Is that any more true?

Avanti for notspots: because your voters are wooorth it

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The Labour Candidates at the EURIM Dragons Den in Brighton shared many concerns with the LibDem Dragons in Bournemouth but we also discussed the need for industry, both suppliers and users, to help organise briefing events, material and other support for those involved in local broadband access campaigns. 

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