This is interesting (need to hear verbatim to be sure), but if system being blamed rather than human error, how many days till we get a “mutant spreadsheet” comment from PM, I wonder?
Meanwhile, I bet Microsoft are just plain old *deeee-lighted* about this.
Also, how long till we have all committed to memory the number of rows in an XLSX file? What strange days these are.
Leaving this here as an eg of mundane technology with tremendous implications *and* because it is fascinating to have an MP talking about releases of Excel. Never have so many discussed the merits of columns vs rows, etc.

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More from @rachelcoldicutt

7 Oct
Good morning good morning. Listening to this evidence session on UK ARPA.
Always v impressed with Greg Clarke’s chairing of this committee - noting that he is picking up on the very important question of who the customer would be for ARPA, and who gets to set the challenges for the future of the country. Is it the government? Researchers?
Of course no one has mentioned *citizens* or *civil society* which I ofc feel is at least part of the answer.
Read 40 tweets
25 Sep
Looking at the ministerial forward to the UK National Data Strategy, I find myself intrigued by this line - “positioning the UK as a global champion of data use” - and its possible meaning…
Later on in the strategy it says, "When we refer to data, we mean information about people, things and systems.” So, the UK will become a global champion of using information about people, things and systems?
I am not at all against the odd rhetorical flourish, but I would like to know what that means and how we will know when we’ve achieved it.
Read 4 tweets
24 Sep
This will not be the big technology story today, but this is incredibly concerning: "Big tech
should be persuaded to provide, for free, the wiring of our social infrastructure.”

If you were wondering, my respone is no, no, no, no, no.
In a democracy, social infrastructure should be decoupled from ad tech and surveillance.
In fact, in this report, I have called for the reverse - for a Community Tech Stack. If you support that, please do get in touch. Contact details on the website.
Read 6 tweets
24 Sep
It is, indeed, here. After much anticipation, the NHS COVID App. I’m not a privacy expert, but having been talked through the way the data is handled in a preview the other day - decentralised, anonymised - I’m happy to download it for exposure notification.
My feeling is we need to give it a go and see if it works.

My underlying concern is that the app is extremely reliant on (1)
joined up, consistent comms about risk, (2) tests being available and (3) results being processed quickly.
I know some privacy campaigners are unhappy about the QR codes, but I gather the model for this was New Zealand, which seems to be working well. I’m not sure if that function necessarily belongs in this app, but 🤷🏻‍♀️. It’s there and there’s no compulsion to use it.
Read 5 tweets
20 Sep
Is it too late to stop the sale of popular behavioural economics books in both the Westminster and Islington postcodes?
Bets on what’s coming next - alchemy or phrenology?
Or maybe just Getafix. Getafix, the Asterix druid
Read 4 tweets
17 Sep
I do not love this *not one bit* - and the “No way not never” column is stacked much higher than the “Well, maybe if we’re desperate” one - but if Amazon take over test and trace it might actually hit some targets.
And tbh the general chaos and running down of public services has made this inevitable. This is not that different to how I imagined Brexit and big tech might shake out at the end of 2018.
Whichever way you look at it, privatisation-by-incompetence is a sorry state of affairs.
Read 7 tweets

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