Data nitwittery

WRITTEN ON Wednesday, November 10th, 2010 BY William Heath AND STORED IN Data nitwittery, We told you so...

Plans to use VRA lie detector software to identify benefit cheats have been scrapped after trials suggest it is unreliable… Professor Lacerda, who is head of phonetics at Stockholm University, told the Guardian he welcomed the government’s decision to drop the technology. “I praise the Department of Work and Pensions for the serious investigation they […]


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WRITTEN ON Thursday, October 14th, 2010 BY William Heath AND STORED IN Data nitwittery, Design: Co-creation, Foundation of Trust, Save Time and Money

More or less the first post on IdealGov over six years ago was on Finland’s register-based census. But now, thanks to all sorts of developments not least this week’s Mydex launch, we can see how the UK in 2012 2011 could do better than the Finns a decade earlier. The non-ideal 2012 [correction: 2011] Census […]


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WRITTEN ON Thursday, March 25th, 2010 BY William Heath AND STORED IN Data nitwittery, Foundation of Trust, Identity

Ive been contacted by a school governor who doesn’t want to see their school bounced into fingerprinting the kids, and wonders what to do. They’ve prepared this draft briefing for a governor’s meeting this weekend. Looks pretty damn good to me. Is it right? Anything to add? Reasons For Not Introducing Fingerprinting To [xyz] School […]


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WRITTEN ON Thursday, December 10th, 2009 BY William Heath AND STORED IN Bad stuff, Data nitwittery, Identity, Official fibbing/bad stats, Pertinent Art, Political engagement, Save Time and Money, Transformational Government, We told you so...

In a speech yesterday Michael Wills (whom I dont know myself, but he’s Labour member of Parliament for Swindon North, and a Minister of State at the Ministry of Justice) called for a new, more courteous and respectful dialogue over government’s use of personal data. IdealGovernment has wanted this for years. But – as he […]


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WRITTEN ON Thursday, September 24th, 2009 BY William Heath AND STORED IN Data nitwittery, Foundation of Trust, We told you so..., What do we want?

Wired has a nice graphic for the FBI’s God-quest. It shows several of the businesses which handed over customer records to the state:


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WRITTEN ON Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009 BY William Heath AND STORED IN Data nitwittery, Foundation of Trust, Identity, Transformational Government, What do we want?

My letter to ONS I’ve been asked (by pacifists and others concerned that the 2011 census is managed by a US defence contractor) what are the legal options for non-participation. I know it’s not a question you’ll welcome, [however] I believe I fully understand the arguments about why it’s safe and a good thing to […]


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WRITTEN ON Tuesday, September 1st, 2009 BY William Heath AND STORED IN Data nitwittery, Foundation of Trust, Identity, Transformational Government, What do we want?

This in from Scotland Public sector organisations should avoid creating large centralised databases of personal information and keep clear audit trails of how identity data is used, under new proposals published today. Leads into their consultation on privacy (see below). The draft privacy principles are worth repeating: # Proving identity or entitlement: people should only […]


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WRITTEN ON Friday, August 7th, 2009 BY William Heath AND STORED IN Data nitwittery, Foundation of Trust, Pertinent Art, What do we want?

In describing the NSA’s ambitious construction of a $1.5bn 1m sq ft data centre, James Bamford invokes Luis Borges’ “Library of Babel”: ..a place where the collection of information is both infinite and at the same time monstrous, where the entire world’s knowledge is stored, but not a single word understood. In this “labyrinth of […]


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WRITTEN ON Wednesday, August 5th, 2009 BY William Heath AND STORED IN Data nitwittery, Foundation of Trust, Official fibbing/bad stats, We told you so..., What do we want?

Bloody marvellous. When the database state + Experian connive to wreck your life, there’s no comeback! So rules Bill Blair (brother of the devout war-mongerer himself) in a High Court judgment, reported by El Reg: An entrepreneur whose fledgling business was ruined by a false entry in a court database has had his claim for […]


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WRITTEN ON Tuesday, August 4th, 2009 BY William Heath AND STORED IN Data nitwittery, Foundation of Trust, We told you so..., What do we want?

Nine local council staff have been sacked for illegal access to the ID database, says Computer Weekly. * Cardiff and Glasgow councils sacked staff after they looked up celebrities’ personal records * Tonbridge and Bromley councils sacked workers for looking up their friends * Brent sacked someone who looked at their girlfriend’s details * A […]


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