Feeds

UK.gov makes bizarre threat to throw self off internet

Curtains if sites not accessible by 2009

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

The UK Government has given itself until the end of next year to get its act together on accessibility, after which any .gov.uk site failing to achieve the minimum, Level Double-A of the W3C Guidelines will have its domain withdrawn. This brave, nay, foolhardy commitment could conceivably result in carnage across national, local government and miscellaneous hanger-on .gov.uk sites - and we can perhaps look forward to a more overtly outsourced future containing sites such as homeoffice.tv, mod.cn and basildon.eu.

Or not. UK Government web sites may not generally be a great deal of use when it comes to basic objectives such as communication, reference, organisation and consistency, but the major sites generally either achieve the guidelines or come sufficiently close for them not to find the December 2008 deadline particularly challenging. So they're accessible already, and we can all be confused by them on a level playing field.* But a Southampton University study last year found that 61 per cent of Government and local council web sites did not comply with the guidelines, and it seems reasonable to expect that quite of number of sites beyond the major central Government ones still fail to make the grade.

So unless they've pulled their socks up by 2009, they all get culled? Again, probably not. The threat of withdrawal appears in the "Minimum level of accessibility" section of a consultation on Delivering Inclusive Websites, available at the Cabinet Office site. This states: "Continuing standalone sites must achieve this level of accessibility by December 2008. Websites which fail to meet the mandated level of conformance shall be subject to the withdrawal process for .gov.uk domain names, as set out in Naming and Registering Websites (TG101)."

And what and where is TG101? This is not immediately obvious, not even to the public sector web gurus, who (you'll note from the discussion at this link), do however manage to turn up this page, also at the Cabinet Office and clearly labeled out of date and archive only. But hey, it's all we've got. In essence, it seems to suggest that if a web site is complained about, and if it fails checks made three times in 90 days, then it gets the push.

Which probably means there will be no widespread massacre, and that the worst that will happen is that a couple of sites will have a shot put across their bows, but will clean up their acts before the axe falls. The upside for the Government here is that the users will help it find .gov.uk sites it had to all intents and purposes forgotten about, and identify all of the non-compliance issues it had missed for it. Web 2.0 participative Internet in action.

The consultation was posted on the Cabinet Office site in the last week or so, and runs until November 13th. Check the authorship date on the document and you'll find it was 14th May. e-Government in action. ®

* Example: Google cabinet office accessibility and you get this link top, www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/e-government/ resources/handbook/introduction.aspx, which at time of writing bounces you straight through to a page that doesn't just tell you that the page is missing, but that the page that's supposed to tell you the page is missing, is missing. Or at least that's what we think the 'can't find custom 404' 404 page is telling us. We'd guess that the Cabinet Office paid large amounts of money to bring you news of this multi-tiered failure.

Application security programs and practises

More from The Register

next story
ONE EMAIL costs mining company $300 MEEELION
Environmental activist walks free after hoax sent share price over a cliff
Arrr: Freetard-bothering Digital Economy Act tied up, thrown in the hold
Ministry of Fun confirms: Yes, we're busy doing nothing
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
Apple smacked with privacy sueball over Location Services
Class action launched on behalf of 100 million iPhone owners
US judge: YES, cops or feds so can slurp an ENTIRE Gmail account
Crooks don't have folders labelled 'drug records', opines NY beak
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.