Cybercrime, note to BBC: other operating systems are available

So, I’ve started the week by (obviously…) listening to BBC Radio 4’s “Start The Week” in which Andrew Marr:

talks to the journalist Misha Glenny about the murky world of internet crime, as the cybercops pit their wits against the cyberthieves and hackers

In a curious coincidence the programme took place just after this year’s Software Freedom Day which is:

a worldwide celebration of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS). Our goal in this celebration is to educate the worldwide public about the benefits of using high quality FOSS in education, in government, at home, and in business — in short, everywhere!

FOSS is free to obtain and as the New South Wales Police told their Parliament in 2009 regarding using the internet for a commercial transaction, one should use a Linux boot up disk.

So what advice did we hear today?

Continue reading Cybercrime, note to BBC: other operating systems are available

The “Microsoft” govt gateway: It’s deja-vu all over again

For those of you new to all this, we need to go back to the era of the Office of the e-envoy (source of the apparently forgotten first iteration of the government opensource action plan way back in 2002)

In 2001 they introduced the government gateway which does something or other, or as the help page puts it:

    The Government Gateway is the website you use to register for online government services. It is an important part of the government’s strategy of delivering ‘joined up’ government, enabling people to communicate and make transactions with government from a single point of entry

Registration with it is required before you could use certain online servces, e.g., taxes. However government is not so joined up that the most used online service Vehicle Excise Duty requires you to register (but see Institute for Government “System + Error” for an alternative perspective on all of that….)

Not so now, but at the time the government gateway was introduced you needed MS Windows in order to register.

Let’s fast forward to 2011…

Continue reading The “Microsoft” govt gateway: It’s deja-vu all over again

Is a govt FRAND standard a steath tax?

Government and Open Standards are back in the news where we were quoted:

    The Cabinet Office is supposed to be the strategic arm of government, but it needs an overarching strategy on open standards if open source is to work. If this can be done then the benefits are clear, interoperability will save money over time.
    The government has produced studies in interoperability, and it is clear that it works throughout the economy in general in helping drive prices down. But it has shyed away from explicitly referring to the IT sector.
    This has meant that there has been no compulsion for those not already interested in open standards to allow for them.”

Last week we learned at TransferSummit that the government is working on a new definition of open standards and hopes to publish it by the end of the year.

What I don’t understand is what was wrong with the old one, even though it only lasted three months.

In January 2011, only nine years after the government first indicated might need such a definition more detail here (registration required) the government published a policy procurement note which for all its lack of teeth contained as good a definition of open standards as one might hope for, looking for all the world as if had been copied from the FSFE website

If the government adopts any policy that opens the door to royalties for standards then it would be interesting to know whether they have considered that this could constitute the imposition of a new tax.

Continue reading Is a govt FRAND standard a steath tax?

Govt IT – A Recipe For Rip-Offs

Government and IT- “A Recipe For Rip-Offs”

Today, the Public Administration Select Committee published its findings from its Inquiry into Government IT.

The Inquiry was started in December 2010 so has the seven month wait been worthwhile?

Titled “A Recipe For Rip-Offs”(HTML) or (PDF) it’s certainly asking to be read. The OSC submitted three sets of evidence so we were keen to read it.

Continue reading Govt IT – A Recipe For Rip-Offs

Democracy, Plurality, Interoperability

Today a lot more people than usual will be wanting to watch the proceedings of the Home Affairs and the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committees.

The hearings will be taking place this afternoon in Portcullis House probably in a room not unlike the one here and as you can see the audience capacity will be about thirty people which today, looks like it could be a bit of a problem .

Don’t worry! You’ll be able to watch the proceedings on Parliament Live. Oh, wait a moment…

Continue reading Democracy, Plurality, Interoperability