Feeds

Royal Mail promises 2nd class service on postcode data

Keeps PAF in its sack

Mobile application security vulnerability report

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. ®

Bridging the IT gap between rising business demands and ageing tools

More from The Register

next story
Arrr: Freetard-bothering Digital Economy Act tied up, thrown in the hold
Ministry of Fun confirms: Yes, we're busy doing nothing
ONE EMAIL costs mining company $300 MEEELION
Environmental activist walks free after hoax sent share price over a cliff
'Blow it up': Plods pop round for chat with Commonwealth Games tweeter
You'd better not be talking about the council's housing plans
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
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

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.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.