December 2010 Archives

Christmas Conversations - how real or reliable is the on-line world?

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Having been struck down by heavy colds we did not have a last minute Christmas shop or our usual walk over the Downs on Boxing Day. However, I was also struck by how little time (or money) anyone, including me, spent on-line instead. In fact it was rather less than last year. Apart from my wife's hunt for survival bags (one for each stocking for all those old/young enough to do serious hiking), we had been able to find almost everything we wanted off-line. The exception was the new HD TV. But we decided to put that off to the New Year,

The perils of forecasting the future v. the perils of not forecasting

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My first forecast, on "Video in the Year 2000", with the ubiquitous switchable, editable videophone, has yet to come about. Most of us still lack the bandwidth necessary for more than matchbox size Skype images, Courtesy of Ian Brown you can now read my third, attempt, on the potential impact of a world of ubiquitous intelligent systems as well as on-line communications: "Learning for Change". Yesterday I was in a "heavy" conversation on the introversion of current debate on cybersecurity, information governance, privacy and anti-corruption legislation. There was great concern that inexperienced ministers will be maneuovred into expediting the flight of wealth-creating business offshore because they lack the global vision of those who built an Empire, (often by mistake), on the back of trade (not the other way round). I was asked to put my 2004 paper on "The Global Electronic Bazaar" on line so that one of those prsent could quote from it to an American audience, 

How to prevent the DWP Universal Credit from being yet another doomed IT project

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The coalition government has said that the days of big IT projects are gone. But IT projects do not come much bigger than the DWP plans for a Universal Credit. How can we ensure that it is as successful as the original computerisation of PAYE under Nigel Lawson and Steve Matheson? I have covered the reasons for that success several times. Most recently in a blog last year. But time has moved on and an additional idea, not really practical in the early 1980s, may help ensure that the Universal Credit is a similar success.

Your chance to comment on how HMG should improve its use of IT

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Public Administration Select Committee of the House of Commons has announced an enquiry, "Good governance:effective use of IT" , into the way Government develops and implements technology policy. It will examine the Government's overall strategy for information technology (IT) including how it identifies business needs, the effectiveness of governance arrangements, and procurement policy and practice.

 

You have until 21st January to submit 3,000 words on your views.

 

Remember " the silent majority gets what it deserves - ignored". This is a most timely opportunity to put across your views, where and when it matters - to Parliament, while Cabinet Office is reviewing strategy, tactics and implementation.

Why rational users prefer cheap dancing pigs to expensive security snake oil

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I have spent much of the last month listening to security scare stories from consultants and vendors bidding for attention and budgets. Many of the activities for which they are seeking support appear worse than useless. They distract attention from that which could and should be done to cut costs, improve service and win new business by removing vulnerabilities rather than adding new layers of sticking plaster over festering wounds. 

Students rioting to preserve middle class puberty rites, not world class education

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I am torn between guilt and reason by the debate over student fees. I was the first generation of my family to go away to University but not the first to go to University. My father and grandfather took years of evenings and week-ends to acquire their degrees at Universities which no longer offer this option. Meanwhile my mother's family could not afford to let her or her elder brother take up the scholarships they won. I am married into a Scots family which is fanatical about education and self-improvement as a duty, and the first call on the family finances, not just a privilege to be paid for by others. But thirty years ago, in a paper on "Training for Multi-Career Lives" I argued that the our educational priorities had to change.

From Wild West to Western Front : the evolution of Cybersecurity

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"The Internet used to be compared to the WIld West, the lawless frontier; now it is more like the Western Front, a massive, unrestricted battlefield. Geopolitics is putting your data in the firing line." So concludes an article by Allan Dyer of Yui Kee Computing in the IMIS Journal. On Thursday, at the ISSA UK Chapter and I heard several presentations on what is currently happening (and what is expected to happen). One summarised a PWC study report. Another summarised the report of an ISSA Advisory Board brainstorming. Until yesterday I would have said they were both excellent. I took part in both the PWC study and the ISSA brainstorming. Then I read Allan's article. It reminded me that we in the West are at the Far End of the world from where the future is being forged. [double entendre intended].

 

Freedom of Information (and Wikileaks) v. Censorship (and Established Power)

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The reaction to the Wikileaks story exposes the heady mixture of self-delusion that passes for debate on freedom of information, transparency of government, re-use of public information, secure data sharing, data protection, information assurance, information security, information risk management and even net neutrality. I am waiting for the rumours that the Wikileaks was assisted by the Chinese, Indian or Isreali governments - or a coalition of all three. It was also an accident waiting to happen, given the US approach to "secure information sharing" after 9/11.

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