Recently in Regulation 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.  

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.

Government 2.0: the Inglorious (MPs' Expenses) Revolution

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The saga of the MPs' expenses disc is not only a classic tale of information governance, or rather the lack of it, but of  the selective use of information to bring about revolution. We do not yet know what kind of revolution. But, with the largest ever new intake of MPs in prospect, the Revolution of 2010 will be more akin to 1660 or 1688 than 1946, let alone 1979 or 1997. 

How does the cookie crumble? Whose spyware is acceptable?

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What is the difference between the Larry Page's claim that making Google wipe data after six months would hit Flu Protection and a Ministerial claim that spending umpty £billion on data retention and Interception Modenrisation would help the War Against Terror"? This morning I also received an eloquent lawyer plea "Please kill this cookie monster to save Europe's websites".  

Cambridge celebrates 800 years by debating abolition of academic freedom

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On 3rd February the Campaign for Cambridge Freedom won a key vote in the Regent Council to help protect the academic freedom that made the University and its acolytes (from Harvard onwards) "the Devil's Flamethrower" (article in THE) with over 800 years of sometimes very uncomfortable discussion on the nature of truth, from Duns Scotus to Hawking (via Erasmus, Newton and Darwin) and Walsingham to Dearlove (via Turing and Klugman)..

What will Digital Britain look like in 2009?

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In the Orthodox world Christmas is on 6th January. In the Digital world it is expected on 14th January when Santa (Lord) Carter delivers the keynote at the joint Westminster eForum and Media Forum seminar on "Digital Britain" and the opportunities and challenges of convergence.    

Do Digital Diapers Deter Data Diarrhoea?

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The shut down of the Government Gateway after an apparent compromise may influence your response to the NHS consultation on other uses of oatient data, on which I blogged on Friday. It should not. There is whole array of privacy enhancing technologies that can be used to prevent such failures. The problem is not hardware or software. "Its the wetware stupid".

A Cartel Masquerading as Anarchy: who governs the Internet?

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The Internet is the most concentrated and regulated communications system the world has ever known. Players like Google or Microsoft take a far larger revenue share of the markets within which they operate than Standard Oil, Ma Bell or IBM ever did. Meanwhile over 500 agencies and regulators in the UK alone claim powers to access traffic data or stored content: albeit almost none are capable of securing what they demands.

Big Brother Database or Sensible Precaution

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The consultation on the updating of the legislation to require "communications data" to be retained in order to aid possible investigations came shortly after the announcement of proposals to centralise the storage of such data. The result has been a predictable wave of paranoia. Still missing are the risk assessments that would inform rational debate.    

An incompetent, unsafe and corrupt Surveillance Society ?

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This morning the first of a season of reports on surveillance and information assurance was published. The House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee report was released to the Sunday Papers at one minute past midnight. The Commons Press Gallery get their copies at 09.00 Monday morning.  Meanwhile the Cabinet Office report and recommendations on Information Assurance have been circulating, unpublished for nearly two months.

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