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Central Sponsor for Information Assurance

e-Government framework for Information Assurance

Draft 5.1, December 2006

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these comments have also been posted to the Kable board.

I honestly don't know how worthwhile this is. it often feels - to be frank - that comment in spaces like this is a complete waste of time. please feel free to convince me otherwise, but we try yet again ....

here goes ... why are no 'web people' being asked for their feedback?

I suppose this is an advance on yet another letter just to the chief exec that disappears into the ether but really 'IT and IT security Managers, senior managers with responsibility for IT and information assurance, departmental security officers, IT security vendors and service providers'? what da heck's wrong with web managers!

this seems to be a consistent theme with feedback requests from whitehall, forget to ask the web people.

and really, the utter frustration is that I think we have a very. very and yeah I say very real 'transformational' contribution to make as:

a/ we are very much in touch with the actual user experience of 'information assurance' b/ we certainly can comment on the role that 'trust' plays in our collective web position and consequently the impact of our web-based initiatives! (as well as how we can ***k up that 'trust'!)

especially when a stated aim for this doc is 'promoting public confidence in e-Government services'.

the web provides unique opportunities to back up our positions and reinforce public trust perceptions. are you going to learn more about that through just talking to IT managers?

think, for example, about how reputation management is handled on the web by large companies. this is the big picture which affects how trust in service provision impacts. how does this doc address that?

another thing ignored in the doc is the web reality that we face of our information being 'repurposed' by others, sometimes commercially. this is beginning here and one glance at the american experience shows our future.

the entire ediface is predicated on our control of information provison and the control by us of the presentation of the security of that information (the 'sell), which is far from assurable - even with things you'd assume to have no commercial value and within the wider context of web content being 'scraped', already. (Do the commissioners have any notion of what 'scraped' means?).

why, with a review of this scale, is this 2007 basic web reality, which anyone with any web nounce could tell you about, completely ignored? frankly, my (young) junior staff get this better than whitehall appears to do? never mind some vision about predictable web developments?! I just don't believe that I'm personally way ahead of the game here vis a vis whitehall. so I'd love to know (really) why this practical reality is (actually) consistently ignored?!

and I'll say why. it affects me. when I have to convince management about web realities, the whitehall 'take' has real meaning. whitehall's attitude filters down to my day-to-day frontline web reality. and I know it's not just me who's reality i'm describing.

I have just been through an exercise with news about our authority going around the world and ending up on lots of blogs and consequently google etc. results. explaining this 2007 reality was nothing but a shock to lgov people but probably wouldn't surprise most commercial CEOs. google certain terms about us and you hear things we'd rather you didn't. this panics lgov people IME and what does whitehall say about what we could do? zip. [ref:]

this negative stuff stays there permanently online without active intervention and affects our reputation and hence users attitudes to our information and the assurance of our services. how do we deal with this sort of attack on our 'information assurance'? no answer. no planning.

to be precise and defined - how do we deal with, for example, the online, active anti-parking enforcement lobby which spreads lies about our service provision? this doc doesn't give any answers. it just blathers on about the 'success' of initiatives. this is not useful!

all this stuff we're doing/planning under the transformational agenda ends up interfacing with the public through the web. so 'web people' therefore are important/vital to get involved. doh! and double doh!

who do I mean by 'web people'? straightforwardly, those of us who have the depth and breath of experience and are *not distorted by commercial perspectives. there are lots of us in lgov.

you are never going to get a useful strategy out of just consulting someone like siemens or nomensa who - for example - will never promote discount testing as it ain't commercially advantageous for them and in my xperience have no interest in suggesting simple, cheap solutions which *anybody can do without involving them.

'reputation mangement', for example, can't apparently be done without employing an agency. not true! whitehall could give us guidance and leads. where is it? despite the desperate need for us to do things like discount testing and participate in the blogosphere, would big commercial suppliers ever say this? why would they?

that whitehall consults companies and not us? how do you think this makes us feel about whitehall's attitude to us?

so what's going on? why aren't we in these consultation job title arrays? are we scary? are we the 'awkward squad'? what is going on here?

us at the frontline who have a serious contribution to make would appreciate knowing why we're being consistently ignored. because, believe me, this is the impression that this one - amongst countless other whitehall consultations - is creating.

I, for one, get the strong impression that whitehall sees us 'web people' as raising uncomfortable truths which they'd rather shuffle bureaucratically into the ether. maybe this isn't the intention but this is the impression. and, of course, my point is that none of thsi ultimately helps the public: our customers. convince me otherwise.

please excuse the apparent rant but that people with far more resources to hand than me get this consistently cock-eyed is b****y frustrating.

Posted by paul canning on 2007-02-22 23:01:13.
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