Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Cloud computing is bonkers or, as HMG put it, a "no-brainer"


The failures of government IT projects are well-known and have been for decades, during which the problems have been intractable. Now a solution is being championed by Her Majesty's Government – cloud computing.

What is cloud computing? And is it the answer?

Friday, 23 March 2012

Official: stillborn French biometric ID card scheme not just extra-terrestrial but also unconstitutional, 13 times over

Remember France? Remember 6 March 2012 when the French parliament decided to introduce national biometric ID cards? In a scheme reminiscent of Vichy? 60+ members of the National Assembly and 60+ members of the Senate referred the law to the French Constitutional Council. What does the Council make of it?

Thursday, 22 March 2012

EXCLUSIVE: Man in shower gets wet

1. In the year to 31 March 2012 public expenditure is estimated to be £710 billion. According to yesterday's Budget, Whitehall expects to spend £683 billion over the next year, a tiny reduction of 2.4% in nominal terms, very slightly more in real terms, taking RPI inflation into account.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Stillborn (mort-né) French biometric ID card scheme killed by crude mistake in technocrats' design

Remember France? Remember 6 March 2012 when the French parliament decided to introduce national biometric ID cards? In a scheme reminiscent of Vichy? Time to take a look at the quality of the design decisions taken at this early stage. Do the technocrats know what they're doing?

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Brodie Clark has been silenced, several months too late for the Home Office

The Brodie Clark affair is closed. Normal service is resumed, it's as though it never happened, there's nothing to see here, folks, move along please:

Monday, 19 March 2012

The French parliament wants to comply with the European Commission by making France more like Pakistan

Remember France? Remember 6 March 2012 when the French parliament decided to introduce national biometric ID cards? In a scheme reminiscent of Vichy? Time to take a look at the journey France is making – where did this scheme come from and where is it going to?

The French people kindly volunteer to pay for any mistakes their banks make

A quoi ça sert la ... signature électronique?

Remember France? Remember 6 March 2012 when the French parliament decided to introduce national biometric ID cards? In a scheme reminiscent of Vichy? Time to take a look at one aspect of this scheme – digital signatures (signatures électroniques). Someone needs to tell the French people what their government is letting them in for.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Vichy redux

Nine days ago on Tuesday 6 March 2012 the French National Assembly enacted a Bill to protect people from identity theft. The proposition de loi relative à la protection de l’identité is now French law.

You might think that this Act is just like the UK's now repealed Identity Cards Act 2006. Wrong.

There are similarities. Everyone over a certain age will be enrolled in a French population register (a fichier) and will be issued with an identity card. The card will have microchips in it (puces). The chips will somehow use your biometric data (données) to support identity verification. I.e. they will allow you to prove that you are who you say you are. The French are even using the same misinformation – the cards will be "optional" (facultatives), according to an article in Le Monde.

But there's a big difference. The UK ID card scheme was going to use flat print fingerprint technology (empreintes posées) which is cheap, easy to use/no expert required, clean and utterly unreliable. The French know that. They're not stupid. It's French companies that provide this waste of money/snake oil biometric technology. They're hardly likely to make the same mistake.

The whiff of cordite in Whitehall

Rt Hon Margaret Hodge MBE MP is making a speech today at Policy Exchange. This is the latest battle in her war to make Whitehall accountable to Parliament. Whitehall wastes our money with impunity, as it says at the head of this page. In the attempt to put a stop to this state of affairs, traditionally, Whitehall has always won hands down. Perhaps we should expect history to repeat itself.

Or perhaps not. Never has the ancien régime been led by a general as vulnerable as Sir Gus now Lord O'Donnell, the man to whom we owe the present parlous state of our national finances.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Cabinet Office using cyber security budget to increase risks to the public

Can someone advise, please, is there a polite way of asking can any British government tell its arse from its elbow?

Friday, 9 March 2012

You know you've arrived when ...

Towards the end of a long and illustrious career, already garlanded in the seats of power the world over, what bauble could possibly further crown his achievement? This was the conundrum perplexing DMossEsq.

The Governership of Hong Kong? Too late.

The Order of the Garter? All things considered, no.

Could he be the next Pope? His lips are sealed.

The answer recently came to him. At last. As so often in today's global world, it was thanks to Google.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

The behaviour of the Cabinet Office is infantile

The Government Digital Service operate a blog so that we can all see what they're up to.

GDS is part of the Cabinet Office and what they're meant to be up to is making public services more efficient.

On 6 March 2012, one Bob Kamall published a post on the GDS blog called Engaging With The Hard To Reach. It's all about his visit to a charity in Southwark, St Mungo's, which provides care for the homeless.

You can read Mr Kamall's post. But you won't believe it.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Always ahead of the game, the Daily Telegraph gets its April Fool's Day story in early

The Whitehall efficiency drive that increased costs

A seven-year government efficiency programme has backfired and increased costs for the taxpayer by hundreds of millions of pounds, a public spending watchdog said.

10:00PM GMT 06 Mar 2012
Whitehall departments have spent £1.4 billion in an attempt to save £159  million by sharing “back-office’’ functions such as personnel and procurement ...

The [National Audit Office] discovered that the Department for Transport system had so far cost £129 million more to set up and run than it had saved ...

Another unit, set up by Research Councils UK, has recorded a net cost to the taxpayer so far of £126 million ...
See also Shared services disaster: a gain for some officials and ERP suppliers?

Why can't we be more like the Dutch?

Ministerie van Binnenlandse Zaken en Koninkrijksrelaties
Bekker: verbetering biometrisch paspoort mogelijk

Nieuwsbericht | 27-02-2012

Het gebruik van vingerafdrukken en digitale pasfoto's (biometrie) in het paspoort en de identiteitskaart is niet mislukt, maar levert nog onvoldoende op. De vingerafdrukken staan niet in een centraal bestand, ze worden niet gecontroleerd aan de grens en ook nauwelijks bij de uitgifte van reisdocumenten aan het gemeenteloket. Er zijn nog mogelijkheden om het gebruik van vingerafdrukken en foto's op paspoorten en ID-kaarten beter te benutten. De hooggespannen verwachtingen van tien jaar geleden zijn niet uitgekomen.
Clear enough. Nothing to add. You may say.

Oh alright, just for the English. That's Dutch, that is, and here is the Google translation: