rimberg writes: On Monday next week Kieron Poynter of PricewaterhouseCoopers will publish his report into the failures that led to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) losing 25 million confidential records about UK citizens claiming child benefit. The HMRC fiasco, and privacy debacles before and since, demonstrate a public sector culture of complete disregard for the privacy and security of individuals in the UK. There will be a Ministerial statement about the Poynter Review in the House of Commons on Monday afternoon. If you haven't already, please write to your MP today and ask her or him to put your concerns to policy-makers during this session. This culture of disregard for personal privacy combined with the Government's continued belief in the aggregation and sharing of vast amounts of personal data across agencies is a privacy timebomb.If you're unsure how to write an effective missive to your MP, then read the ORG wiki's handy guide. What follow are some key points and requests to put to your MP for you to choose from — click on the links for further ideas and resources.
citizenkeller writes: "Opera has filed an antitrust complaint against Microsoft in the EU. From their press release: "The complaint describes how Microsoft is abusing its dominant position by tying its browser, Internet Explorer, to the Windows operating system and by hindering interoperability by not following accepted Web standards. Opera has requested the Commission to take the necessary actions to compel Microsoft to give consumers a real choice and to support open Web standards in Internet Explorer.""
rimberg writes: "26 minutes of questions and answers about iPlayer, DRM and cross platform support with Ashley Highfield, the BBC's Director of Future Media & Technology. "The problem at the moment, there is no open source DRM. It's almost a contradiction in terms, if you have DRM how can you have it open source? Because open source people will be able to find out how it works and get round it." ...
"Once we get to that stage, where the content, wherever it goes, can have all the rules associated with how it should behave, and once its able to tell us who's viewing it, where they're viewing it... then it doesn't really matter where the content goes"
listen in Mpeg3, Ogg Vorbis or AAC."
eweekhickins writes: "Net neutrality has finally emerged as a campaign issue instead of a sideshow for tech geeks. Presidential candidate Barack Obama said in Iowa that unless net neutrality legislation is enacted, "You could get much better quality from the Fox News site and you'd be getting rotten service from some mom and pop site." Sounds like that prospect doesn't give him the warm and fuzzies."
rimberg writes: On Tuesday, John Pugh MP led an adjournment debate on IT software procurement, where he accused the UK government of excluding Linux and Mac Users from government services such as the Department of Work and Pensions online benefits system.Also during the debate it looked like Andrew Miller MP might have raised the spectre of Microsoft's failed OOXML standard, when he asked: "Would it not help in the quest for openness if the British Standards Institution were to follow the lead in other parts of the world and make open source XML (sic) one of the standards to be applied throughout the world? It would mean that people working outside the Microsoft sphere could have access to the code, and it would help the world in future-proofing big projects such as the British Library archives."
rimberg writes: The Open Rights Group (ORG) has just released its report into the May 2007 elections in Scotland and England. The report expresses deep concerns over the conduct of the 3 May elections in England and Scotland. Presenting the findings of their 25 strong team of officially accredited election observers, they state with regret that they are unable to express confidence in the results of the polls in those areas observed. This is not a declaration they take lightly but, despite having had accredited observers on location, having interviewed local authorities and having filed Freedom of Information requests, ORG is still not able to verify if votes were counted accurately and as voters intended.
The report identifies problems with the procurement, planning, management and implementation of the systems concerned. But more fundamentally, given that problems were so widespread, the evidence supports the view the e-voting and e-counting technologies are not suitable for conducting statutory elections.
(Give me a yell if you want me to write up a longer version of this, I was one of the observers so I can give lots more if you want.)