The Register who like to stay on top of many embarrassing IT incidents have highlighted problems with the Parental Internet Controls Consultation, that has now resulted in the site being taken off-line. For those wondering what we are talking about, the press release from the consultation launch is still available, though links to the consultation within that release are also broken.
It appears that there may have been a failure of session control mechanisms when people were filling in the consultation survey, resulting in some people seeing other peoples responses and being able to overwrite responses, data including their home or business address which was requested as part of the consultation was also visible to people.
The consultation was only due to run for ten weeks, so hopefully an extension will take place, and suitable publicity to ensure that people will fill it in. One criticism people have made is that the proposals actually affect households with no children in them, and that the consultation may see views being skewed by concerned parties, rather than reflecting the overall UK view. After a serious hiccup like this there will be a lot less confidence in providing personal information online in any subsequent consultation run by the Department of Education, so there has to be a question mark over how useful the consultation will be.