Bored of 2017 yet? Well, don’t worry: 2018 is on the way and it’s packed with exciting events, such the World Cup in Russia, the Winter Olympics in South Korea, and the implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in May! So, plenty to look forward to.

New rules are-a-coming – one of which is the requirement for councils and other bodies that process vast amounts of data to appoint a data protection officer (DPO).

Now, this is a role that can shared – for instance, where local public services are already in a shared service arrangement – but care needs to be taken.

Some councils have already passed the DPO role to their chief information officer (CIO) or chief digital officer (CDO). Alas, this isn’t necessarily a great idea.

Unless the CIO or CDO has a very broad data remit, is sitting at board level, is leading on information governance across the organisation and has expert knowledge of the GDPR, you might want to think carefully about creating a new DPO position.

Furthermore, the GDPR’s guidance states that the DPO must be independent from the data controller and mustn’t be responsible for the determination of the purposes and means of processing personal information.

Luckily, Socitm recently published a Member Briefing covering the GDPR in depth, including the potential pitfalls of how you cover the role of DPO. Click here to access ‘Turning the GDPR from a Data Headache into an Information Opportunity’.


Friday round-up: A week in tech


There was bad news for self-driving vehicle enthusiasts this week, as a computer-controlled bus had a crash within two hours of hitting the highway.

But there’s no need sink into a total depression after yet another setback – it wasn’t the bus’s fault, on this occasion.

Programmed to trundle tourists around Las Vegas, the machine was pranged by a truck that suddenly appeared out of an alley. Luckily, no one was injured but the bus sustained a knock to its bumper and the truck driver got a ticket.

Smoothing over the bump, Jace Radke, a spokesperson for Las Vegas, which sounds like a pretty cool job, said: ‘The shuttle did its job in that the sensors hit on the truck, knew the truck was coming and stopped as it was supposed to do. The problem was the truck didn’t stop.’


Ok. Let’s see if this tale hurts your head as much as it does mine. Over $300 million in cryptocurrency has been bafflingly mislaid. I’ll try to explain.

The missing funds were (or are) in the form of ‘Ether’: a digital currency that is (or was) stored in virtual multi-signature wallets.

These wallets were and are created and maintained by developer Parity, which tried to fix a bug on Tuesday – but somehow inadvertently managed to make things worse.

When the mistake was spotted, an attempt to fix it only succeeded in sealing the wallets and locking the $300m away forever.

Now a solution has been suggested: something called a ‘hard fork’ would resolve things, say some, but only if 51% of the locked funds’ owners agree to act as if none of this ever happened. What?

Code would have to be changed and then taken up by most of the users – however, if enough users decline the code change, then two rival groups could be created. Again, what?

If you’ve the time, read this Guardian article about it; and if it makes sense to you, come back and explain it to me.


Squawking, angry, deranged social media network Twitter has stopped its verified-profile system, after admitting that it’s ‘broken’.

The system is designed to verify the accounts of the rich and famous, great and good, but has begun endorsing, if that’s the right word, the accounts of white-supremacists and similar crazed hate-peddlers.

This week, Twitter verified the account of one Jason Kessler, the individual who organised the torch-bearing Nazi march through the US town of Charlottesville back in the summer. Social media’s great, isn’t it?

Anyhow, in a statement, the hare-brained company said: ‘Verification was meant to authenticate identity and voice, but it is interpreted as an endorsement or an indicator of importance. We recognise that we have created this confusion and need to resolve it.’


The very expensive iPhone X has yielded yet another weakness – it doesn’t like the cold.

Users have complained that the thing stops responding when the temperature drops, so they have to go back indoors to carry on their fuming Twitter arguments.

It has emerged that, despite Apple’s claims to the contrary, the iPhone X is the easiest iPhone to break, with the glass screen costing £250 to fix.

Apple has acknowledged the problems some users are facing on frosty mornings, saying: ‘We are aware of instances where the iPhone X screen will become temporarily unresponsive to touch after a rapid change to a cold environment. After several seconds the screen will become fully responsive again. This will be addressed in an upcoming software update.’

Come on, it’s only £1,000. What do you expect for a mere £1,000? Something durable?

Friday round-up: A week in tech

Large group of morons banned from message forum


A large group of whining men have had their internet message board/playground taken away from them.

Discussion website Reddit has decided to remove the ‘support group’ for ‘Incels’ (which stands for ‘involuntarily celibate’, I’ve just discovered), after evidence emerged that some users were advocating rape and indulging in general tender-headed, shabby misogyny.

The board’s 40,000 frenzied morons patronised such posts as ‘reasons why women are the embodiment of evil’ and ‘all women are sluts’. Delightful stuff.

It’s proved too much for Reddit, however, which has brought an end to the vicious nonsense in line with a new policy to ban drivel that ‘encourages, glorifies, incites or calls for violence or physical harm against an individual or group of people’. Good move.

According to the disconsolate souls in the Incel community, women are ‘femoids’ that are…guilty of just about every crime imaginable.

I had a root around the ashes of the message board, so you don’t have to (and, believe me, you don’t want to), and my conclusion is that these, I suppose you could call them ‘men’ have taken sulking to such depths of unspeakable stupidity and ghoulishness that it’s verging on an art form.

The internet, eh? Bringing people together!

Large group of morons banned from message forum

Shared services? There’s a webinar for that

Eduserve Blog Pic.jpgCouncils, if you want to connect your services better and reduce costs you need to collaborate with other councils – also, you need to get involved with a coming webinar.

Eduserv, a not-for-profit provider of industry-leading technology advice, engineering and support, will be broadcasting a special event on Tuesday 28 November, 12:15-1:00pm.

Investigating the complexity and the variety of shared services, Eduserv has worked with many councils and specialists to develop an assessment tool: RASP (Readiness Assessment for a Shared Services Programme).

Developed with Socitm, RASP is now freely available for councils and others to use – and you can access it here.

The webinar will explore the issues sustainable and successful shared service models face: what works and why; pitfalls and risks, the due diligence needed for a solid foundation; typically risks; and where the benefits lie above and beyond saving money.

The discussion and Q&As, which will be chaired by independent digital consultant Jos Creese, will feature a terrific panel of experts:

Ed Garcez, CIO and CDO, Camden, Haringey and Islington Shared Service, who has been leading shared services in London since 2014, will talk about relationships, and the importance of assessing and maintaining a level of trust.

Southwark Council recently joined the Brent and Lewisham shared service – and used RASP for a gap analysis. Emma Marinos, Director of Modernise, will share the insights and outcomes of the assessment.

With Soctim releasing an extensive guide to ICT shared services this month, Martin Ferguson, Director of Policy and Research, will share some key ideas about what makes shared services succeed or fail.

Shared services are becoming more common and expected across the public sector – it’s essential to recognise the challenges of forming partnerships and making them resilient and sustainable.

To register for the webinar (and why wouldn’t you?) click any of this sentence. And if you can’t make the 12:15-1:00pm slot on 28 November, fear not: register anyway and you can watch it whenever it suits you.


Shared services? There’s a webinar for that

Air fare: Uber working on flying taxis


Guess what’s happening next? Flying taxis, of course.

The notorious Uber has signed a contract with space specialists Nasa to develop the quixotic-sounding things, which could be operational in time for the Los Angeles Olympics in 2028.

The firm plans to start trialling its four-passenger UberAir ships in 2020 above LA, which will apparently be capable of zipping along at an impressive 200mph.

Speaking at an event in Lisbon, Uber’s chief product officer, Jeff Holden, said: ‘Doing this safely and efficiently is going to require a foundational change in airspace management technologies. Combining Uber’s software engineering expertise with Nasa’s decades of airspace experience to tackle this is a crucial step forward.’

Hang on – they haven’t even got self-automated cars to work properly yet; shouldn’t they learn to self-drive before they can fly?

Furthermore, Uber are currently banned from having anything to do with traditional ground-based taxis in London, so I can’t see the authorities readily giving them a licence to fly above the capital.

None of this, however, has dampened the spirits of LA mayor, Eric Garcetti, who said: ‘Los Angeles has always been a place where innovators come to build new ideas that can change how we live our lives. LA is the perfect testing ground for this new technology and I look forward to seeing it grow in the coming years.’

I’m no expert, obviously, but, bearing in mind that Amazon are yet to get a small drone to drop a DVD down your chimney despite years of hype, I’m going to go out on and limb and predict that this isn’t going to happen.

Air fare: Uber working on flying taxis

Send us your naked pics, says Facebook


Facebook would like you to send it your nude photos – who could resist?

No, the social media network isn’t planning a fruity Christmas special, the request is actually part of an attempt to tackle revenge porn, apparently.

The scheme, which is being piloted in Australia, will see your naked snaps ‘hashed’ with a special digital footprint, meaning if a bitter ex-lover tries to upload the pictures, they’ll be blocked.

Revenge porn is practiced by bitter and inadequate people who seek vengeance against ex-partners by attempting to humiliate them globally with intimate shots, taken in better times. It is thought the practice was learned from the tabloid press.

Anyway, Facebook is running the scheme in league with an Australian government agency, whose e-safety commissioner, Julia Inman Grant, said: ‘We see many scenarios where maybe photos or videos were taken consensually at one point, but there was not any sort of consent to send the images or videos more broadly.’

But would you send your most revealing photos to Facebook? I mean, apart from ongoing tax issues, the fishy contradictions around Russian ad-interference in 2016’s US election, keeping deleted users data for longer than is legal, misinforming regulators about the nature of its takeover of WhatsApp, and being fined for not being honest with users about what it was doing with their data, you can trust the network, right?

Those concerned about what might happen to those pics taken on that drunken Valentine’s Day in 2010 must fill out a form on the e-safety commissioner’s website, before sending in the troublesome shots. Then Facebook promises to ‘hash’ the images to stop them being misused – every possible step will be taken to ensure they are not accidentally dragged and dropped into the ‘Future Marketing Strategies’ folder.

Send us your naked pics, says Facebook

Very expensive phone is very easy to break

Broken iPhone

If you’ve just bought the costly iPhone X you might want to think carefully before picking it up – it’s the easiest iPhone to smash to date.

A group that specialises in dropping things on the floor has discovered that the X is the ‘most breakable, highest-priced, most expensive to repair iPhone ever’. Sold!

Dropists SquareTrade tossed the grossly expensive device to the ground from a giddying height of 6ft, producing such ill-effects as display malfunctions, shattered front and rear glass, and the destruction of the swipe gesture.

Apple has claimed that the thing is made of the ‘most durable glass ever in a smartphone,’ but then they would, wouldn’t they.

Another bunch of phone-droppers, Cnet, also found that the X is particularly prone to breakages when exposed to gravity’s wrath, and recommend getting a case to protect it as soon as it’s unwrapped. Isn’t that odd and a little ridiculous? You don’t buy a new car and then get told ‘you must buy this other bit or it’ll crash/blow up/fail miserably’.

With the device costing at least £999 to begin with, screen repairs come in at £286, while further damage can cost up to £556 to remedy. All this just to stare listlessly at drivel on Facebook and check the time.

Here, if you’ve any interest, is a video of the phones being dropped and broken:

Very expensive phone is very easy to break