Recently in Internet Category

Will 2012 be the Year that convergence finally happens?

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The rise of the smart-phone as the global social networking and on-line browsing device of choice has expedited the convergence  of fixed and mobile communications into "ubiquitous broadband" - even in the UK (which went from leader to laggard during the dead-end decade of local loop unbundling). Hence the driving force behind deals which upstage BDUK Broadband policy like that of O2 and Kensington and Westminster  in much that same way that BSkyB upstaged IBA Satellite policy, two decades ago.   

Meanwhile the fragmentation of debate over privacy, surveillance, on-line safety and cyberwarfare continues to complicate the spread of cost-effective information security by design - as opposed to coating that which is inherently insecure with layers of expensive and ineffectual scareware. Will that change as more businesses realise that using the identity chips already embedded in PCs and mobile phones enables identification of the physical device with which they are communicating? The routines are not totally spoof-proof (nothing ever is), but they do enable better, faster, less obtrusive security at lower cost. They also restrict anonymity to those willing to pay for the privilege. I look forward to seeing a converged debate flushing out the hidden agendas of those who wish to see this happen, those who do not, those who wish use all to be uniquely identifiable and those who wish to have multiple on-line personas with different attributes which they can manage separately.  

Rationalising the slew of semi-incompatible Information and Identity Governance proposals

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Tomorrow I am due to help open the first discussion at the ETICA conference in Brussels on bringing together Ethics, Innovation and Politics. I have been piggy-in-the-middle between politicians and techies for over thirty years and believe Ethics entails accepting responsibility for the consequences of our past actions - not evading responsibility because the unexpected has happened or technology has changed.  My first point will therefore be that not only is technology  neutral but that the implications of most of the supposedly emerging technologies were being discussed over twenty years ago, albeit some of the terminology was different.

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.

Is poor service forcing consumers off-line?

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Virgin, Tesco and Metro are all planning to open branch-based banking operations and the Post Office is planning, once again, to re-open its banking services. Why? The Financial Services Club Blog carries an interesting analysis but misses the point. There is serious money to be made by using new technology to slash the cost of "traditional" over-the-counter services - provided you have access to an existing branch network - especially one that is self-funding.  

The case for e-Government values your time at zero.

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Christmas is a time for talking to "real" people. Among other "setting the world to rights" conversations, I heard a more credible view as to why the proportion of the UK population transacting regularly on-line has not only stopped growing but is falling. But first the data:

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 Ofcom Consultation and the future of Digital Britain

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HMG has just launched a consultation to extend the remit of Ofcom to promote "efficient investment in infrastructure". The six week timescale is determined by the need to legislate before the next government reviews the very existance of Ofcom. But can we afford a two year wait for a proper review of the UK communications infrastructure, given the stress tests it will face in 2012 if not before? And can we afford to leave that review to Ofcom? 

Has Ofcom passed its sell-by date?

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Those involved in the pre-legislative scrutiny of the Communications Act 2003 which created Ofcom were well aware of the need to subsequently review implementation and perfomance. There were various ideas as to how to achieve this: including a joint committee of both Houses. None came to pass.

Who "owns" your identity and your personal data?

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HMG appears about to admit that federated identity management is inevitable, if only because none of the tribes of Whitehall can agree to use a system controlled by another tribe. Meanwhile 

"It's Ours: why we, not the government, must own our own data" an excellent paper from the Centre for Policy Studies has moved the debate on.   

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