Saturday 12 January 2013

#1 of many lessons about GDS and the external digital thought-leaders

Ex-Guardian man Mike Bracken, executive director of the Government Digital Service (GDS) and senior responsible officer owner for the government-wide Identity Assurance Programme (IDAP), produced not one blog post yesterday but two.

The Future is Here is an invitation to Sprint 13Strictly limited to 300 guests, no more room in the Ark, be there or be nobody, this is the party for the "ambitious" (we're going to be seeing a lot of that word).

Videos, speeches and workshops at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, Monday, 21 January 2013 from 08:45 to 13:00 (GMT), come and meet "Government and Agency Board Members, Officials, Policy Makers, Ministers, Press and External Digital Thought-Leaders". Who could resist?

"Book your place", it says on the invitation. So DMossEsq did:
  • And back came the response on screen, "Thank you! See you at the event!", followed by the names of all the other registered attendees!
  • Followed by a cheery confirmation email from Eventbrite, a Californian firm of event organisers (please see Cheers below).
  • Followed by an email from GDS explaining regretfully that the invitation wasn't meant for DMossEsq, there must have been a misunderstanding.
There's a lesson there. About the future. Which is here.

Eventbrite now have the names and email addresses of about 300 civil servants "working across Government and its agencies to deliver our digital ambition statement". Why? Eventbrite may (definitely do) also have the attendees' job titles, employer's name (government department) and mobile phone number, all of which are also entered on the booking form. No warning. No permission sought. Quite unnecessary.

To a marketing man, that sort of data is apparently invaluable. Which is why the Eventbrite service is "free", like Google and Facebook and Twitter.To GDS, with their devil-may-care attitude to personal data, it means nothing. 300 civil servants? 62 million Brits who use public services? Privacy? What's that all about?

(to be continued)

Added 13.1.13:
GDS have corrected their mistake, the 'Book your place' link now takes the browser to a 'This event is invite-only' page.

Cheers (confirmation email from Eventbrite):

From: Eventbrite []
Sent: 11 January 2013 17:58
Subject: Greetings from Eventbrite

Hi David,
The organiser of SPRINT 13 is using Eventbrite to sell tickets or collect online registrations. If you have any questions, here's the best way to find what you're looking for:
Looking to...
  • View order details or print tickets
  • Review general event info
  • Share events with friends
Have questions about...
  • Event specifics like transportation, parking, dress code
  • Guest and refund policies
Go to Eventbrite Contact the organiser
We hope you enjoy SPRINT 13 !
The Eventbrite Team
Keep in touch!
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From workshops and art shows to reunions and charity events, for 20,000 or 20 people, Eventbrite makes the hard part of hosting events, easy. Best of all, it's free if your event is free! Learn more.

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