Feeds

Boy George plonks tech centre onto Silicon Roundabout

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

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

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. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
Big Content outs piracy hotbeds: São Paulo, Beijing ... TORONTO?
MPAA calls Canadians a bunch of bootlegging movie thieves
Google Glassholes are UNDATEABLE – HP exec
You need an emotional connection, says touchy-feely MD... We can do that
Just don't blame Bono! Apple iTunes music sales PLUMMET
Cupertino revenue hit by cheapo downloads, says report
US court SHUTS DOWN 'scammers posing as Microsoft, Facebook support staff'
Netizens allegedly duped into paying for bogus tech advice
Feds seek potential 'second Snowden' gov doc leaker – report
Hang on, Ed wasn't here when we compiled THIS document
Verizon bankrolls tech news site, bans tech's biggest stories
No agenda here. Just don't ever mention Net neutrality or spying, ok?
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
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?
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
Protecting against web application threats using SSL
SSL encryption can protect server‐to‐server communications, client devices, cloud resources, and other endpoints in order to help prevent the risk of data loss and losing customer trust.