NOTE: Some of the links in the older documents here may no longer work.

DROSS - Distributed & Resilient Open Source Software

Presentation to the ECPRD Working Group on ICT at the Chamber of Deputies in Bucharest on 18 November 2010

Personal Identity - Just Say No!

BCS Privacy Day presentation July 2008

Chips or Mash? Composite Identity in Context

BCS Privacy Day presentation, July 2007, based on my original Chips or Mash? article.

Open Source for Open Government – A Strategic View.

The use of Open Source Software (OSS) in government and public administration is no longer a far fetched idea. Around the world, it is now being taken seriously both by legislators, eager to ensure transparency and best value for money in the delivery of public services, and by the large software companies who stand to be most affected by a shift from the proprietary to the open source software development model. Open Source has moved from being a hacker’s utopian dream to become a serious contender in a market worth € 6.6 billion this year for European e-government alone. High stakes, indeed, but money is not the only issue for the public sector market. In the post-Enron era, corporate governance and the way companies shape and manage their markets have become high-profile political topics. Reducing the dependence of government on large companies, in a market sector where corporate ethics have been demonstrably bad, is a new strategic consideration and one which is not about just the software but also the public data created and managed by that software.

Open Source for Open Government – Can it be done?

The use of Open Source software for public administrations has recently been given official backing by the EU. The “e-Europe 2002 Impact and Priorities” communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament, prepared for the Spring European Council in Stockholm in March 2001, (COM(2001) 140 final) made the following recommendations on the subject of e-Government. Public administrations should:

  • Develop internet-based services to improve access of citizens and businesses to public information and services,
  • Use the Internet to improve the transparency of the public administration and to involve citizens and business in decision making in an interactive fashion. Public sector information resources should be made more easily available, both for citizens and for commercial use,
  • Ensure that digital technologies are fully exploited within administrations, including the use of open source software and electronic signatures.

One could summarize these recommendations as “Open Source for Open Government”, but can it be done? Could one run a parliament using just Open Source software?

Information Strategy for the Digital Parliament.

The Internet is changing the way all organisations operate and do business. The conventional Information System and Information Technology Strategies of the past are no longer sufficient or appropriate. Instead, a different approach is needed that takes into account the new convergence of content. It is proposed that a new kind of content-driven, high-level strategy, the Information Strategy or Information Architecture, is required to provide a strategic framework for low risk systems development and implementation in the new digital organisation. Parliaments of the future are no exception to these needs but do have special characteristics and requirements that must to be taken into account when setting the goals that the Information Strategy must satisfy.

Why is XML the future for the sharing of parliamentary information?

XML is the current hot topic in information systems. Suppliers, industry groups and standards makers are all rushing to announce support for it. Most people have now at least heard of it, but there is still widespread misunderstanding of what XML really is and, more importantly, its information system implications.

Accordingly, this paper first presents, with as little technical complexity as possible, a very brief summary of what XML is and how it differs from SGML and HTML and then discusses its information systems (IS) implications. Although concentrating on information sharing in the parliamentary context, the principles are applicable far more widely. Only when viewed from a “wide area” perspective can the real impact of XML in information sharing be appreciated.