Skip to main content
With an invitation to No10 this morning, I’m on my best behavior today. No jokes about transport and stress that my name has an “S” on the end, Moores, no relation to the other one. I'm tempted to ask whether Intel's new processor, Prescott, is named after the great man but even I'm struggling with the connection.

Yesterday I chaired the afternoon of the LondonOne Conference at the TUC Congress centre. LondonOne represented the first real coming together of agencies and minds to focus in on the interactive Digital Television (dTV) revolution and it was considerably cheered by the previous day’s cost-cutting news from British Telecom, which at last made broadband a viable proposition for the cash-strapped content providers and champions of public service digital TV.

Baroness Dean, chairman of the Housing Corporation, who you may remember as Brenda Dean of the print union, SOGAT, took the rather clinical sounding Broadband Britain slogan and changed it into the much more cuddly “Brenda Agenda”; encouraging everyone involved to find new and user friendly ways of delivering content and information to the people in society who need it most. Of course we have three different digital divides to worry over these days:

Those who don’t have Internet access at all
Those who have dial-up access
And
Those who have or can afford broadband

These Statistics of disadvantage were illustrated by my good friend, Bill Edwards, Director of Communication at The Office of the e-Envoy who closed the conference. While 43% of the population may be on-line in one form or another, another 47% aren’t, some 23 million people who live mostly in places like Scotland or Yorkshire, outside the warm embrace of the M25 where the Internet doesn’t seem quite so important to their lives.

Eight million digital Television boxes are now out in the country and the Government’s own awareness campaign, through UK-Online, generated the single largest response to an advertisement that Sky had ever seen, which must give a whole new slant to that well worn expression, “I’m from the government and I’m here to help”.

Digital Television (Public) services, driven by local and central government are now seen as one of the best mechanisms for delivering information and education to people who might normally fall through the net. In Sheffield, an NHS pilot project demonstrated that the people using Digital TV services through the NHS were markedly different from those who might use the Internet. Young mothers with children or older men from low income neighborhoods. So while many would criticize government’s efforts in using new technologies as little more than attractive political sound bites, the evidence suggests that the UK-Online vision, through 6,000 kiosks and now, digital television may actually start to produce the results that government had in mind for the programme.

However, I can't resist letting my cynical side escape. Prime Minister Clement Atlee once said that “If you open Pandora’s box, a Trojan horse jumps out”. I suspect that we can’t even imagine where all this enthusiasm for Open Government will take us and what services people will expect from the public sector in future. God forbid, it may even lead to freedom of information!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Mandate of Heaven

eGov Monitor Version

“Parliament”, said my distinguished friend “has always leaked like a sieve”.

I’m researching the thorny issue of ‘Confidence in Public Sector Computing’ and we were discussing the dangers presented by the Internet. In his opinion, information security is an oxymoron, which has no place being discussed in a Parliament built upon the uninterrupted flow of information of every kind, from the politically sensitive to the most salacious and mundane.

With the threat of war hanging over us, I asked if MPs should be more aware of the risks that surround this new communications medium? More importantly, shouldn’t the same policies and precautions that any business might use to protect itself and its staff, be available to MPs?

What concerns me is that my well-respected friend mostly considers security in terms of guns, gates and guards. He now uses the Internet almost as much as he uses the telephone and the Fax machine and yet the growing collective t…

Mainframe to Mobile

Not one of us has a clue what the world will look like in five years’ time, yet we are all preparing for that future – As  computing power has become embedded in everything from our cars and our telephones to our financial markets, technological complexity has eclipsed our ability to comprehend it’s bigger picture impact on the shape of tomorrow.

Our intuition has been formed by a set of experiences and ideas about how things worked during a time when changes were incremental and somewhat predictable. In March 1953. there were only 53 kilobytes of high-speed RAM on the entire planet.

Today, more than 80 per cent of the value of FTSE 500* firms is ‘now dark matter’: the intangible secret recipe of success; the physical stuff companies own and their wages bill accounts for less than 20 per cent: a reversal of the pattern that once prevailed in the 1970s. Very soon, Everything at scale in this world will be managed by algorithms and data and there’s a need for effective platforms for ma…

Civilisational Data Mining

It’s a new expression I haven’t heard before. ‘Civilisational data mining.’

Let me start by putting it in some context. Every character, you or I have typed into the Google search engine or Facebook over the last decade, means something, to someone or perhaps ‘something,’ if it’s an algorithm.


In May 2014, journalists revealed that the United States National Security Agency, the NSA, was recording and archiving every single cell-phone conversation that took place in the Bahamas. In the process they managed to transform a significant proportion of a society’s day to day interactions into unstructured data; valuable information which can of course be analysed, correlated and transformed for whatever purpose the intelligence agency deems fit.

And today, I read that a GOP-hired data company in the United States has ‘leaked’ personal information, preferences and voting intentions on… wait for it… 198 million US citizens.

Within another decade or so, the cost of sequencing the human genome …