Skip to main content
Arabian Nights

It’s the land of opportunity, where Oil flows like water and water flows occasionally. Of course you guessed, it’s post ‘conflict’ Iraq and I’m sitting here moderating the www.arabgov.com website which monitors the progress of new technology in the middle-east.



If you believe the newswires, Iraq promises a telecommunications ‘leapfrog’ into the future, having very little in the way of advanced communications infrastructure that isn’t Russian or hasn’t been buried under sixty feet of concrete rubble, observers are predicting that Iraq could prove to be the biggest opportunity for wireless yet.

Knowing something about the middle-east – I’m speaking at a regional futures conference in Bahrain in May, I thought I would do the patriotic thing and draw the DTI’s attention to the reconstruction opportunity that the new Iraq might offer to UK technology companies. A little research took me to the Iraq desk and it appears that they are building a register of interested companies. However, one swift look at the material that I was emailed, appeared to confirm my wildest suspicions.

Apparently, “The telephone number for the Army Corps of Engineers is 001 202 761 0014. This number should only be called once companies have registered with the Department of Defense, and wish to give additional information on their company's capabilities” and “All consultations will be held in the USAID Public Information Center, Suite M.1, Ronald Reagan Building, Washington, D.C., starting promptly at 10:00 a.m., and ending at 11:30 a.m.. Pre-registration is required and will be announced when it is available. Conference attendees are limited to one person per organization".

I rather gained the impression that behind all the political puff about a coalition effort, the reconstruction opportunity we have been hearing about is a limited one but then I suspect the British taxpayer knew that anyway.

I very much doubt whether Iraq’s redevelopment will see much in the way of a significant involvement from British IT companies even supposing that the DTI knew much about IT, which it doesn’t. Mention ‘wireless’ and you’re quickly into a conversation about clockwork-driven radios, so I’m afraid that if UK PLC wants to play a significant part in anyone’s reconstruction, then we may have to send our armed forces somewhere else, without oil and without inviting the Americans along to shoot at us.

If you want to discover more about ‘Opportunities’ in Iraq, call the DTI Iraq desk on 0207 215 8892 to register your interest in joining the coalition effort.


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

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 …

The Nature of Nurture?

Recently, I found myself in a fascinating four-way Twitter exchange, with Professor Adam Rutherford and two other science-minded friends The subject, frequently regarded as a delicate one, genetics and whether there could exist an unknown but contributory genetic factor(s) or influences in determining what we broadly understand or misunderstand as human intelligence.

I won’t discuss this subject in any great detail here, being completely unqualified to do so, but I’ll point you at the document we were discussing, and Rutherford’s excellent new book, ‘A Brief History of Everyone.”

What had sparked my own interest was the story of my own grandfather, Edmond Greville; unless you are an expert on the history of French cinema, you are unlikely to have ever hear of him but he still enjoys an almost cult-like following for his work, half a century after his death.

I've been enjoying the series "Genius" on National Geographic about the life of Albert Einstein. The four of us ha…
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…