back to article UK government looks to harness the potential of open data through APIs

In a speech earlier this week, Matt Hancock, minister for the Cabinet Office, referred to data as being "no longer just a record" but a "mineable commodity, from which value can be extracted" and outlined how the UK government intends to improve its use of the information at its disposal and help others exploit the data too. " …

  1. Dan Wilkie

    Reg owes me money...

    My Buzzwordometer just exploded and I need a new one...

    1. Bill M

      Re: Reg owes me money...

      I run my Buzzwordometer on Linux and it handled the high load admirably.

      1. Fungus Bob Silver badge

        Re: Reg owes me money...

        My Buzzwordometer is so old it runs on kerosene...

        1. Bill M

          Re: Reg owes me money...

          Wow !! Amazing you still got it running !!

          Don't forget to regularly update its signature files, as new Buzzword threats appear daily.

          1. Fungus Bob Silver badge

            Re: Reg owes me money...

            Sadly, this version is no longer supported. And it rusted shut.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The funniest thing I've read in a long time

    The UK government said that "a programme of lunch-time code clubs" could help civil servants become "alive to the transformational power of data"

    My very first was as a civil servant, writing code - before I escaped. It was mainly the culture, but fat G who I supposedly worked for was not an inspiration. He had a skin condition, and would peel a complete layer of skin off the back of his flaky hands before eating it.

    The civil service reputation for inertia, bureaucracy, incompetence and secrecy is founded in fact. These people couldn't find both their own buttocks at the same time, and if anybody thinks that there's entrepreneurial and tech talent in the ranks of the civil service, they are mistaken. The idea that a few "lunchtime coding clubs" will turn grey-skinned SEOs into algorythm innovating code wizards looks a tad questionable.

    1. Daggerchild Silver badge

      Re: The funniest thing I've read in a long time

      They could make great strides just getting them to use spreadsheets properly. Spreadsheets are practically programming.

      It's got a nice intuitive interactive GUI, and can also transparently pull its data from a backend datasource. And it prints graphs and pie charts - which are like crack for managers.

      Make their bonus proportional to an exam about successfully making a particular graph from publicly available data each month.

  3. Amorous Cowherder
    Alert

    "...Matt Hancock, minister for the Cabinet Office, referred to data as being 'no longer just a record' but a 'mineable commodity, from which value can be extracted'..."

    My God, did a government employee finally understand something genuinely important about people's data? I think I need a lie down after the shock.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      did a government employee finally understand something genuinely important about people's data?

      Indeed he did. But he didn't say who would pocket the extracted value. Do you think it will be:

      1) You and me?

      2) Some shitty offshore outsourcer being paid to do not much?

      3) Some big data company that gets our data, and makes a mint for its Yank shareholders whilst paying no UK corporation tax?

      My bet is on 3.

    2. Daggerchild Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Prediction: Varying, limiting or obscuring your data in an effort to control or limit accuracy and leak-damage of your identity/details will become a crime.

      No wriggling in the harness! It affects the quality of the extracted product.

  4. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    web log api?

    I look forward to the APIs that allow access to the web access logs stored by all ISPs, and which will presumably be available for sale to russian hackers at a very reasonable price.

    1. 2+2=5 Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: web log api?

      The minister should lead by example: a real-time API feed of MP's expenses claims should be eminently achievable at small cost. I'm sure the UK newspapers will club together to pay for it.

  5. theOtherJT

    "Open" or as the government likes to call it "All" data...

    If May gets her way with the Investigatory Powers bill.

  6. Ol'Peculier

    Obvious reference...

    I can't be the only one that expected the quote "Government data is no longer a forgotten filing cabinet, locked away in some dusty corner of Whitehall" to end with "with a sign saying 'Beware of the Leopard" am I?

  7. td0s

    "preventing the integrity of the data" Sounds like something our government might be capable of

    1. Vic

      "preventing the integrity of the data" Sounds like something our government might be capable of

      I came here to post the same thing.

      It's almost as if someone accidentally told the truth...

      Vic.

    2. Irnerd

      Possible Typo?

      Might have thought that protecting the integrity is more costly than preventing?

  8. teebie

    Oh sod off

    I appreciate this could be used for good (in the way that a well-defined care.data scheme, with properly anonymised records, with strict controls on access could have been a huge boon to research and epidemiology), but I think we all know it will end up being profiteering bullshit like the DVLA selling records to dodgy parking companies, or any of the iterations of the care.data the government have tried to push through.

  9. moiety Silver badge

    So can we expect more mandatory data-harvesting drives for their shiny new "high-quality data"?

    Even if the gov manage to break their run of 100% IT fuckups, I'm pretty sure I don't want my data to be published, mined or readily available.

    Sure, it could be used for good; but altruists and people with ethics don't tend to be the ones with the money.

    Probably a week of hanging around 4chan will teach them more than any number of "code clubs" will ever do.

  10. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

    Hanckock's half hour

    Matt Hancock, minister for the Cabinet Office, referred to data as being "no longer just a record" but a "mineable commodity, from which value can be extracted" and outlined how the UK government intends to improve its use of the information at its disposal and help others exploit the data too.

    help others exploit the data

    help others exploit the data

    Who are these 'others' supposed to be, and how will they 'exploit the data'?

    And who will pocket the 'value'?

  11. Disgusted of Cheltenham

    Does anyone recall the 2nd data protection principle in the law?

    Personal data shall be obtained only for one or more specified and lawful purposes, and shall not be further processed in any manner incompatible with that purpose or those purposes.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Does anyone recall the 2nd data protection principle in the law?

      I think that you will find "The provision of services provided by local and national government, whether in-house or under contract, security of the nation and of the local community, the prevention and detection of crime" will do as the data protection purposes.

      That should just about enable everything, shouldn't it?

    2. annodomini2

      Re: Does anyone recall the 2nd data protection principle in the law?

      All I read from this post:

      "We want rid of the DPA to make one of our mates loads of money"

      At which point sometime later said minister becomes a director of said company.

  12. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    'data services need to be "built around the needs of users".'

    s/users/data subjects/

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yes minister?

    SL: It's not the machine. There's a mismatch on the personnel code numbers... Tuttle should have had L31.06, debited against his account, not Buttle!

    Mr. K: Oh my God, a mistake!

    SL: Well at least it's not ours.

    Mr. K: Isn't it? Whose is it?

    SL: Information Retrieval.

    Mr. K: Oh, good!

    1. xybyrgy

      Re: Yes minister?

      My all time favorite motion picture. Thanks for the quote and an upvote!

    2. Infernoz Bronze badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Yes minister?

      I think that's from the film Brazil, not BBC boringness like Yes Minister!

      1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

        Re: Yes minister?

        Yes, thank you Captain Obvious, we got that. And may I compliment you on your chosen icon.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Down with this. We really don't want these socialist thugs finding yet more ways/excuses to spy on use, waste yet more taxes ('protection money') and effectively give more taxes and data free to crony capitalist corporations in even more harmful ways.

    1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

      Downvote for misuse of the word "socialist".

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