Category Archives: Information Sharing

With headlines frequently reporting large-scale cyber attacks, the UK’s cybersecurity measures – and their weaknesses – are under constant scrutiny and criticism. Yet many businesses fail to give sufficient priority to cybersecurity. The City of London Police Commissioner has claimed that businesses will not properly focus on cybersecurity until a cyber attack causes a major global company to cease trading. In the same speech, the Commissioner said that he believed the UK Government is doing “all it can” to address the threat. Defending against the menace of cyber attack cannot be achieved by any government on its own. The private sector and wider public sector will have to take their share of responsibility to help secure the digital resources of the UK. Nevertheless, it certainly helps the cause to have strong leadership from government. In this article we consider whether the UK Government really is doing all it can to promote the … Continue Reading ››
The German state of Rhineland-Palatinate (German: Rheinland-Pfalz) recently caused some amusement amongst the internet community. Despite long resistance from the state's Data Protection Commissioner Edgar Wagner, Rhineland-Palatinate finally went online with its own Facebook fan page in January – however, not without Mr Wagner imposing a "feedback-channel-ban" that requests all government agencies not to answer user questions on Facebook. Users who seek specific answers from the state government via its Facebook fan page are now referred to other ways of communication such as e-mail or the state's official websites. The motivation behind this is, of course, data protection. Mr Wagner wants to keep the state's fan page clear of any user interaction in order to avoid user data being generated by Facebook. According to Mr Wagner, Rhineland-Palatinate did not want to stay completely out of Facebook as the social network offered good opportunities to provide information to its citizens. The state's presence on … Continue Reading ››

The opportunities and risks involved in exploiting consumers' personal data are the subject of much coverage at the moment. But what about the commercial potential of the vast data sets being made available by the public sector? Datonomy shares some observations.

Some of the Datonomy crew attended a Westminster eForum conference earlier in the month which had as its theme "policy priorities for user data". Datonomy was particularly interested to hear one of the speakers, Professor Nigel Shadbolt, talk about the open government data initiative. The initiative is supported by a new independent organisation which is funded by the Technology Strategy Board, the Open Data Institute, which the Professor chairs with Sir Tim Berners-Lee as president.

The initiative – which involves publishing anonymised government data – was announced in November 2011 by George Osbourne and can be seen as part of a general drive for transparency in government which … Continue Reading ››

Last week I went to a lunchtime seminar on Regulating Surveillance at the UCL Constitution Unit. The seminar was given by given by Professor Charles Raab and Dr Benjamin Goold, who were the specialist advisers to the House of Lords Select Committee on the Constitution in its inquiry into Surveillance, now published as Second Report of Session 2008-2009, “Surveillance, Citizens and the State”. The Report is an important contribution to the debate about the State and the collection and uses of information; and provides a significant conceptual armature for further discussions, and understanding of the meaning and application of surveillance techniques. The Government is due to respond to the Report, after which there will be a Lords debate.

Datonomy has already commented on the Rowntree Report on the Database State, and the retreat by the Government on the Information Sharing proposals, and connected themes mentioned in the seminar were … Continue Reading ››