Feeds

Boy George plonks tech centre onto Silicon Roundabout

White House 'Wiki government' expert to revamp UK.gov

High performance access to file storage

An energy, transport and social data "research centre" was announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne this morning.

Speaking at the annual Google Zeitgeist event, Osborne said that teams at Imperial College London and University College London were working together to create the new centre in collaboration with unnamed tech companies.

It will be based in Shoreditch, squarely in Silicon Roundabout territory.

Osborne also made lots of noises about the "wisdom of the crowd" by claiming that, unlike the previous Labour administration, the Coalition was much more heavily plugged into the interwebs – which, according to the chancellor, means the current government is more accountable to the British public.

"Instead of simply relying on government hierarchies to decide which regulations should be reformed or abolished, we've opened up the process to the wisdom of the crowd," said Osborne.

Aside from a lot of political rhetoric, Osborne did announce that the Treasury had poached a key adviser at the White House, Beth Noveck, who had been running President Barack Obama's "Open Government Initiative" until January this year.

"Beth literally wrote the book – Wiki Government – on how policy-making needs to change in the internet age," said Osborne.

"She's a genuinely world-class recruit, and she'll be working alongside the likes of Martha Lane Fox, Tim Kelsey and Tom Steinberg to harness new technologies to make government more innovative and accountable."

Osborne said the government would push for all public service reforms to be "digital by default", with the assumption that everything can be shifted online, despite the fact that the Coalition openly admits that nine million Britons don't access the internet.

"Officials and ministers have to justify why any aspect needs to be delivered through traditional offline channels," he said.

Osborne added that over 6,000 government datasets were "freely available" to developers to fiddle with.

"Over the next 12 months, we're going to unlock some of the most valuable datasets still locked away in government servers," he said.

"This is the raw data that will enable you, for the first time, to analyse the performance of public services, and of competing providers within those public services."

In October last year, Osborne co-penned a puff piece with Google's then-CEO Eric Schmidt, in which both men said:

"We simply cannot afford to be modern-day Luddites, resisting change in our private or public sectors. Innovation can upset the established order, but it is to be welcomed, not feared."

But on data protection and digital privacy, the Coalition's stance appears less certain.

After admitting that in 2010 hackers made hundreds of attempts to break into the Treasury's computer systems, Osborne – who last year announced a £650m investment programme to help thwart such attacks online – said the government was "determined to get the security question right, so that we can maximise the opportunities that the internet age presents".

Which is a bit like saying it's still searching for correct answers to prevent flaws in the government's cybersecurity plans. ®

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

More from The Register

next story
Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance
Gov't is too broke for that, Russian prez says
Lavabit loses contempt of court appeal over protecting Snowden, customers
Judges rule complaints about government power are too little, too late
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Don't let no-hire pact suit witnesses call Steve Jobs a bullyboy, plead Apple and Google
'Irrelevant' character evidence should be excluded – lawyers
Edward Snowden on his Putin TV appearance: 'Why all the criticism?'
Denies Q&A cameo was meant to slam US, big-up Russia
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Record labels sue Pandora over vintage song royalties
Companies want payout on recordings made before 1972
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Judge halts spread of zombie Nortel patents to Texas in Google trial
Epic Rockstar patent war to be waged in California
Reprieve for Weev: Court disowns AT&T hacker's conviction
Appeals court strikes down landmark sentence
prev story

Whitepapers

SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.