Feeds

Royal Mail promises 2nd class service on postcode data

Keeps PAF in its sack

Website security in corporate America

The Royal Mail looks set to disappoint members of the public hoping to see the contentious Postcode Address File database opened up for free access on the internet.

On Monday the UK government reiterated plans to get the Ordnance Survey to open up some postcode data from April 2010.

In November, Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced that the government would grant British citizens more access to some OS data from next year.

Earlier this week the PM added a little more detail about what data would be made available to the public.

“From April next year Ordnance Survey will open up information about administrative boundaries, postcode areas and mid-scale mapping,” he said.

“All of this will be available for free commercial re-use, enabling people for the first time to take the material and easily turn it into applications, like fix my street or the postcode paper,” said Brown on Monday in a speech dubbed ‘Smarter Government'. It came ahead of Wednesday’s pre-budget speech, which alluded to £5bn cuts from technology projects.

However, it’s less clear if such a move would lead to the Royal Mail’s PAF database, which in 2007 pulled in £1.6m in licensing fees for the state-owned company, being opened up.

We asked the Royal Mail what the prime minister's announcement on postcode data meant for the PAF database. And for now it's remaining resolute about its data and who owns it.

"Royal Mail invests significantly in collating and maintaining the Postcode Address File (PAF) and this cost is recovered in an independently regulated licensing," it told The Register.

All of which seems to suggest that the government's postcode proposals fall short of opening up the PAF database to all comers.

In recent months the Royal Mail has been bullish about keeping the PAF under wraps, despite attempts by some to free up the database.

As we reported in September, an alleged copy of the UK postcode list - though not the entire PAF database - tipped up on whistleblower website WikiLeaks. Shortly afterward the Royal Mail's lawyers served legal papers against a number of sites, including El Reg, in an effort to have links to the data removed.

Come October, a UK postcode lookup service (North London-based Ernest Marples Postcodes Ltd) was slapped with a cease and desist letter from the Royal Mail, forcing it to close down its website. It had been providing web outfits with an API to power their sites that helped people search for information specific to their area.

In not unrelated news, UK.gov opened up a further 146 datasets over the weekend, the details are here, however you will need to be a member of the UK government data developers group in order to gain access to it. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
JINGS! Microsoft Bing called Scots indyref RIGHT!
Redmond sporran metrics get one in the ten ring
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Murdoch to Europe: Inflict MORE PAIN on Google, please
'Platform for piracy' must be punished, or it'll kill us in FIVE YEARS
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
Sony says year's losses will be FOUR TIMES DEEPER than thought
Losses of more than $2 BILLION loom over troubled Japanese corp
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.