GDPR - businesses are waking up but are we?

25th May 2018 - it's just over a year until the General Data Protection Regulations come into force. From this point on, organisations who provide products or services to EU citizens will need to abide by the new  rules (regardless of where they are based) or face the rather scary consequences.

I'm not going to talk about the Principles or Rights here (attend one of the events run any good data specialist consultancy if you don't know about them yet). What I am going to do here is think about how 'consumers' could react once the rules come into force.

Firstly, do people even care about data protection regulations?
You can look in any newspaper and read stories of data breaches, lost laptops, hacks and so on to get an idea of the possible level of knowledge. Everyone who is even a little bit savvy about modern business practices will know that sometimes their data could be lost or stolen.

However, how many people actually react to these events? Were you one of the Y…

Data in 2017 - Predictions from me and others

Happy New Year!

2017 is well underway and as things in Politics and Society continue to go in uncertain directions, data is perhaps one area that can be more certain:

More data (open, shared & closed)More hacks & security issuesMore awareness of the lawMore challenges to fact based decision makingHopefully a focus on schemas & infrastructure Instead of regurgitating my views from an earlier article, check out my thoughts given to Data IQ (note: this was done as part of my day job).
I'd also recommend a look at these Open Data predictions from the Guardian.
Have a great 2017!

Open Addresses - An end to the "Address Wars"?

It's finally happened. After the rise and fall of empires, the UK has created a republic of the people.

No, we haven't asked the Windsors to move on - what's actually happened is Open Addresses.

For anyone who hasn't read this blog before, I'll give you a one paragraph overview of the problem we've faced..

The UK is seen as a leader in Open Data. However, as virtually every decision made by government and businesses involves a 'place', the lack of an open list of places (an address dataset) has been a major problem. We have lots of commercial datasets such as Royal Mail PAF, Ordnance Survey AddressBase and a variety of local gazetteers and other datasets owned by government bodies. While choice is good, in this case the choice and (more importantly) the cost have created issues with uptake of accurate data, problems with matching and in short, chaos.

Now, finally, the issues caused by a lack of a free, open and accurate address source for government and…

ODUG 3: Revenge of the user?

If you're a follower of my Open Data shenanigans then you may like to know that I'm happily continuing with my work on the Open Data User Group.

This year is an important one for the Transparency agenda. We will end with an election but in the mean time, we'll be looking to create the National Information Infrastructure.

I won't repeat all of the content that's out there - check out the links provided for the latest. What I will do though is give you a view on what I hope will happen between now and May 2015.

NII - A framework for the future
The National Information Infrastructure (NII) is intended to be the mechanism, rules, list (and whatever else) that provides us with our national data backbone.

Think of it like any other national infrastructure such as roads, rail, phone or water - these are the key services that enable business, government and society to operate. Without them, we're in trouble!

Data is just the same - the NII will define which data assets …

Business Rates Reform - Easy as Pie and (data) Mash(up)

Business Rates - not exactly a sexy topic but as highlighted by this BBC News article, it's something of huge importance to the UK economy and many businesses both old and new trying to grow in a world of online retailers and a slowly recovering economy.

As detailed helpfully on the site, business rates are basically the non-residential equivalent of Council Tax. Premises are taxed annually to pay for services like rubbish collection, street lights and so on.

While some types of property are exempt, the rates affect offices and shops with some types of organisations and areas subject to various forms of discounts. Complicated!

Now, with rates calculated by the Valuation Office Agency (in England & Wales at least) based upon the value of the property (similar to the Council Tax banding process with the occasional re-assessment) and a multiplier set by central Government (linked to inflation); there are inevitably going to be some businesses get better value for money tha…

Guest blog for Locatable - the East London Property Market

If you're a regular reader of this blog, you'll probably know that I live in East London and have a passing interest in Open Data(!).

After getting to know the guys at Locatable during my visits to the Open Data Institute and Open Government Partnership conference, they asked me to write a guest blog on my personal experience of the property market in East London.

The result of this is here and as always reflects my personal opinions (based upon some basic evidence) and in no way reflects upon the views of Locatable or my employer.

Anyway, I hope it's interesting! While you're there, take a good look at Locatable as this company represents all that is good about open data and owning your information.

Seeing data through all the numbers

Well 2013 is over and 2014 is upon us. What does it mean? What are the trends going to be this year?

I'm not going to join in that game but I am going to spend a little time talking about something that's been on my mind for a while, namely Data Visualisation. This is the term used to describe graphics that communicate facts and figures.

These are used by a variety of "data people" from finance departments to marketing managers, journalists and beyond. This article will look at a few of the common tools and good examples to see how data visualisation is being used to change the way data is used to bring value to businesses and people.