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SA Mathieson

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SA Mathieson is an analyst and journalist, specialising in healthcare IT and management, particularly in the NHS.
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GCHQ to share threat intel – and declassify SECRET inventions

Blighty intelligence and security bods at GCHQ will share classified info on cyber threats with organisations running the UK’s critical national infrastructure as well as declassifying some of the spy agency's intellectual property. It's all part of a series of moves designed to share its expertise. The agency used its IA14 …
SA Mathieson, 17 Jun 2014
Kindle Big Brother

Snowden's Big Brother isn't as Orwellian as you'd think

Few will forget learning the truth about Santa Claus. Many also felt deep shock on realising that a hitherto ultra-secret NSA/GCHQ programme, revealed in documents leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden, was constantly rating everyone on a naughty-nice metric based on indiscriminate covert surveillance all their online activity …
SA Mathieson, 11 Jun 2014
The Epson Derby

Big data? Internet of things? Sport of Kings inches into high tech

In Clare Balding’s autobiography My Animals and Other Family she relates the story of her father, a renowned horse trainer, telling an owner after Mrs Thatcher’s 1979 election victory that “it’s going to take a while to get used to a woman running the country”. The horse owner was the queen of the United Kingdom, Elizabeth II. …
SA Mathieson, 20 May 2014
ISO7816 Tattoo

Thought you didn't need to show ID in the UK? Wrong

One of the first things Britain's home secretary Theresa May did on taking office was to abolish the previous government’s identity cards scheme. But while she made ID cards history, she is in the process of extending Britain’s range of identity document checks. The "sample" UK ID card from the previous government's 2008 effort …
SA Mathieson, 06 Nov 2013
Bletchley Park

Why Bletchley Park could never happen today

Following the torrent of revelations about US and British government surveillance unleashed by whistle-blower Edward Snowden, we now know what many had previously guessed: with a few exceptions*, the spies have the electronic world pretty much wired. Some spied-upon countries – such as Brazil and Germany – have reacted furiously …
SA Mathieson, 25 Oct 2013
Three  UK Passports

UK.gov's e-Borders zombie still lurks under the English Channel

“The UK government has made a commitment to reintroduce exit checks by 2015. The Home Office will deliver on this commitment,” said the Home Office in July. Actually, it probably won’t, replied deputy prime minister Nick Clegg. Home secretary Theresa May told Parliament’s home affairs committee in April that exit checks were …
SA Mathieson, 24 Sep 2013
Scotland

One year to go: Can Scotland really declare gov IT independence?

In one year’s time, the people of Scotland will vote on whether to leave the United Kingdom. They will vote yes or no for numerous reasons … and the viability of Scotland’s government IT is not likely to be one of the most prominent. But the problems a newly-independent Scotland would have extracting its state-sector tech from …
SA Mathieson, 18 Sep 2013

UK gov's smart meter dream unplugged: A 'colossal waste of cash'

On 23 June, the village of Alfriston in the South Downs hosted Get Wired, an event celebrating old-fashioned wired analogue power meters – or, more accurately, opposing their replacement by new wireless "smart" meters. Organiser Stop Smart Meters UK is worried about radiation, privacy, safety, higher bills and people losing …
SA Mathieson, 19 Jul 2013
IDcards

Identity cards: How Labour lost power in a case of mistaken ID

Today, we publish the next extract from SA Mathieson's book on ID cards in Britain, following on from a disastrous trial of the technology in Manchester in 2009. The general election of 6 May 2010 saw significant losses for the Labour party. But by time of the 7 May’s new dawn, it was clear that the Conservatives were short of …
SA Mathieson, 10 May 2013

How did something so small and pink cause so much trouble?

Today, we publish the next extract from SA Mathieson's book on ID cards in Britain, following on from the political wrangling over the controversial technology in the 1990s and 2000s. All that remained before the 2010 general election was the Mancunian trial of the new UK identity card. On 30 November 2009, Manchester Evening …
SA Mathieson, 07 May 2013

Yet another Cabinet-level ID card farce

Today, we publish the next extract from SA Mathieson's book on ID cards in Britain, a hot potato of politics, technology and more politics. January 1995 saw an episode which might have been rejected by the writers of Yes, Minister as a little too silly, when the Cabinet Office’s confidential plans for the national ID card, along …
SA Mathieson, 03 May 2013
id card mockup

UK.gov's love affair with ID cards: Curse or farce?

In the general election held three years ago, every party except Labour and the Monster Raving Loony Party (which just may have been having a laugh) had ID card abolition in their manifestos, including the Conservatives, Lib Dems, Scottish Nationalists, the Pirate Party, Cornish separatists Mebyon Kernow and the BNP. But Labour …
SA Mathieson, 02 May 2013