#TechTop3 – Our top three tech stories of the week

By November 7, 2014EU

By the London technology team

Javid wants rapid action to tackle mobile ‘notspots’. May not so keen…

On Wednesday, the Government published a consultation on a number of measures intended to tackle mobile ‘notspots’. The four measures were: Infrastructure sharing, reforming virtual networks coverage obligation and national roaming.

The Secretary of State has emphasised how keen he is to tackle poor mobile coverage, however his Cabinet colleague Theresa May does not agree. In a leaked Whitehall letter featured in the Times, May warned that allowing people to roam between networks would hinder her Department’s efforts to tackle terrorism. The issue is thought to have risen up the political agenda following the Prime Minister’s recent signal difficulties whilst on holiday in Cornwall!

The story and resulting fallout between Javid and May was well reported by Jane Wakefield for BBC News  and received good coverage in the Guardian and Computer Weekly.

 

All laud Maude as Cabinet Office opens up ‘Digital Marketplace’ for Government procurement

Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude MP opened up the ‘Digital Marketplace’ this week, a ‘one stop shop’ for public sector IT and digital services procurement. This new service consolidates and simplifies several others and is the latest in a long line of developments to change how Government procurement works.

The Coalition has a long term aim to increase the amount of Government contracts awarded to SMEs, as many feel been frozen out of the lucrative market because of the  long, complex and expensive processes involved in bidding for public sector work. Maude has long argued that Government has missed out on new innovative services as well as efficiencies, and this new marketplace should help address this.

Archana Venkatraman covered the story for Computer Weekly, and it was also picked up in other trade press such as Civil Service World, Public Technology and Computer Business Review.

 

New GCHQ head criticises tech sector

The new Director of GCHQ Richard Hannigan wrote a controversial and combative opinion piece in the Financial Times, saying US tech companies were becoming ‘the command and control networks of choice’ for terrorists and that the tech sector ‘was in denial’ about how criminals and terror groups used the internet.

As you can imagine, industry bodies didn’t like the piece, and politicians including Cambridge MP Julian Huppert and tech entrepreneur Baroness Lane Fox spoke out against the claims. The communications data debate got more traction throughout the week, when BBC News reported that the intelligence agencies were able to intercept privileged communications between lawyers and their clients, and the Metropolitan Police Commissioner called the internet ‘a dark and ungoverned place’.

The story was well reported with Derek du Preez writing a good story summarising the responses in Diginomica, and there was widespread coverage. including in the Daily Mail and the Telegraph.