It has never been cheaper to commit a crime


Screenshot of legislation showing the fines.

The UK has what is known as a "Standard Scale" of fines for criminal acts. For example, breaking the law may incur "a fine not exceeding level 4 on the standard scale". Part of the reasoning behind this, so I understand, is to make it simpler for the Government to update the value of those […]

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A (partial) list of vanity identifiers


A tiny lego Storm Trooper eats a chocolate coin.

One of those things that organisations love to do is issue identifiers. My credit card provider issues me with a Customer ID, a Billing ID, a Reference Number, and an online login ID. All of which are different. And none of which match the embossed plastic card they sent me. The state also issues identifiers. […]

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Episode 31 - Modernising the Ministry of Justice


The emojified face of Kim Rowan.

How do you modernise the technology of a huge organisation like the UK's Ministry of Justice? Kim Rowan has some bright ideas. 🔊 💾 Download this audio file. Podcast: Download (Duration: 1:38 — 1.1MB)Subscribe: RSS

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Don't redact FOI answers with a marker pen


(Disclaimer - I currently work for GDS, although I don't work on FOI. This is an opinion piece and doesn't represent the views on any of my employers - past, present, or future.) The Irish government recently complied with a Freedom of Information Act request from journalists at RTÉ. The journalists wanted copies of messages […]

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How I Got The UK Government To Adopt ODF


Screenshot of a Gov.UK page which says Using Open Document Formats (ODF) in your organisation.

Well, it's not often I get to completely influence the UK Government's approach to open standard. GOV.UK is adopting .ODF as their official document standard! All documentation will be also made available in HTML & PDF. Sweet! Yeah, yeah, so I only played a small part in the (no doubt) hideously complicated process - but […]

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The Unsecured State Part 4 - UK Government Websites Spewing Spam


This is part 4 of a series of blog posts looking at the security of the UK Government's web infrastructure. Over the last few days, I've shown that hundreds of websites run by branches of the UK state are in a perilous state of disrepair. There are multiple sites with hugely embarrassing XSS flaws, running […]

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Should GOV.UK Run A Bug Bounty?


Cyber Security is of vital national importance. As the United Kingdom places more of its infrastructure onto the Internet, bugs and glitches go from minor inconveniences to full scale national emergencies. Suppose, for a moment, that a hacker were to interrupt payment processing for banks, or tamper with the UK's water supply, or cut off […]

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"Let's ban tiny phones!" - UK Government


The BBC is reporting that the Government is so afraid of prisoners having access to concealed mobile phones, they want to introduce a ban. UK officials are considering banning the sale of small mobile phones designed to resemble car key fobs. A government spokesman told the BBC that it was discussing the issue with the […]

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Strawberries and Teabags


David Cameron wants to block certain "pornographic" search terms. He joins a long list of MPs who simply don't understand what they're talking about - like Claire Perry, Andy Burnham, and Helen Goodman. I've talked before about my time working as an "Adult Material Classifier" for Vodafone UK. In short, my team and I used […]

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OpenTech 2013


Photo of me at OpenTech conference standing in front of a presentation about bribing MPs.

Another year - another OpenTech! See blog posts from 2010 and 2011. It feels like every year the event gets bigger and better. It's still the same crowd of politically aware techies, and it still costs a ridiculously cheap fiver to come along, and the talks were of an abnormally high quality. Here are my […]

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