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Is Public Accounts Committee an Internet Hero?
Saturday 14 June 2014 09:25:09 by Andrew Ferguson

We won't know who the winners are until the star studded awards ceremony on 10th July 2014, but ISPA has published the shortlists for the Internet Hero and Internet Villain awards.

The nominations in each list are a shortlist from a few weeks of nominations during which the industry and public could nominate people, firms or organisations in each category, with the eventual winners being decided by the ISPA Council.

Internet Hero 2014 shortlist:

  • The Guardian For their reporting of mass surveillance programmes.
  • Independent Networks Co-operative Association (INCA) For their continued championing of alternative networks.
  • Internet Matters For their campaign to inform users of the importance of online safety.
  • Public Accounts Committee/ National Audit Office For holding the government to account on the broadband programme.

Internet Villain 2014 shortlist:

  • Charles Farr, Director of the Office of Security, Home Office For continued attempts to collect communications data in spite of the growing consensus to balance retention of data with fundamental rights.
  • NSA/GCHQ For running the widest covert electronic surveillance programme in the world.
  • Norfolk County Council For failing to rollout superfast broadband to 80% of residents as promised.
  • Russian Government For passing one of the most restrictive internet freedom laws in the world.

We don't have a vote in these two categories but are surprised to see the Public Accounts Committee up for the hero award, because while there is a lot of bark from the Committee very little if anything concrete has arisen from the meetings and at times a lack of understanding on various important issues has arisen. Our vote (if we could vote) for Hero would go to The Guardian for the reporting that has shone the light on level of surveillance in modern society and correspondingly the Home Office for the ways it keeps resurfacing data collection laws.


Posted by ValueforMoney over 2 years ago
You can vote for the Guardian by voting for NSA/GCHQ as a villain.

You should give your vote to PAC/NAO.

PAC/NAO have not finished yet, and their conclusions will probably result in rural MPs calling for a change in BT Undertakings to insure the public monies go where they were intended.

It is good to see the change in thinking by Thinkbroadband. Rather than questioning the conlusions reached by PAC/NAO (the value for money, rather than the competitions comments) you are now just saying they are ineffective because they cannot get their conclusions implemented.

Posted by Gadget over 2 years ago
I don't see anything in the item that justifies VFM's last paragraph, if anything the comment "and at times a lack of understanding on various important issues has arisen" could suggest the opposite. I'm sure Mr S will clarify if there has been any confusion
Posted by cyberdoyle over 2 years ago
Let us hope the PAC can bite as good as it can bark. Someone in government has to expose the superfarce that is FTTC. The funding could have gone to decent alternative projects to put real fibre in the ground and provide much needed competition. Councils have been hoodwinked into believing an obsolete phone network can deliver a futureproof service for all our citizens. It can only help a few go faster and is not the answer.
Posted by WWWombat over 2 years ago
PAC's bite is ignored, and eminently ignorable - The bark unfortunately consists of Hodge barking up the wrong tree, ignorant of the technology and with no desire to find the right tree to bark at. The intent is only to make the bark loud.
Posted by ValueforMoney over 2 years ago
cyberdoyle - alnet capacity at most 3% of UK, so deal with BT was always needed. Judicious use of FTTC is good as long as the subsidies do not exceed the incremental costs, and FTTC does not becomes become an end in itself which is a danger.
The new BT positioning of FTTP as a premium service is a problem so Alt Nets need to step forward where they can to show otherwise.
Posted by ValueforMoney over 2 years ago
@wwwombat It is PAC/NAO as opposed to just PAC so while understanding your sentiment a yes allows us to hope for something better. Should large companies (general comment) decide to mislead about their costs and capital investments what checks are there?
Posted by ValueforMoney over 2 years ago
@wwwombat PAC members consist of Hodge, Hillier, McGuire, Mitchell, Smith, (Labour); Bacon, Barclay, Bebb, Doyle-Price, Heaton-Harris, Jackson, Leadsom, Tomlinson (Conservative) and Swales (Lib Dems). Are they all barking? Sure, the evidence on competition or lack of could be better. Compare what BBC reported for Rutland and what is in the NAO report for cabinet costs?
Posted by WWWombat over 2 years ago
NAO should be better than PAC, and should be impartial about it. But they misunderstood the technology too, and that opened the door to allow PAC to make purely political statements.

NAO cause less of a problem by themselves, but they enable PAC to go badly wrong.
Posted by WWWombat over 2 years ago
@VFM 2
Hodge gets most of my ire, rather than PAC as a whole. From transcripts, the group make their biggest mistakes when Hodge alone stops listening to answers, stops asking questions to educate herself and starts asking embarrassing "questions" designed purely to make political capital.

It is no wonder the treasury consider her to be an embarrassment to the country.
Posted by ValueforMoney over 2 years ago
@wwwombat NAO had substantial inputs from BT and BDUK, so can only work with what they were given. As it stands the proportions in Table 11 when expanded demonstrates clearly the price inflation with what has happened before.
It is BT's decision to refuse to provide reference costs and BT's decision to use confidentiality agreements in the manner they are, and PAC/NAO are the only means of catching up with Corporations who decide to mislead on costs and investment levels. You'd wish for better but this is all we've got.
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