Document Actions

Banned in Whitehall: the technology that offends democracy

Computer Weekly - Whitehall has taken advice over what technology it should and shouldn't use if it wants to prevent private software companies from determining who can and can't access Hansard, the official record of Parliamentary proceedings. 

The Parliamentary Information Communication and Technology (PICT) office used the advice, from two of the UK's most prominent standards experts, to develop a policy that reflected how computer standards have become a matter of significance to democracy.
Central to the advice is a concern over multimedia standards, which has informed PICT's decision to overhaul Hansard's electronic publications, introducing open standards and ditching technology that puts restraints on what computer users can access public Parliamentary records.
Providing a list of forbidden technologies, the advice came from a May 2009 report (called Principles of Data and System Design for the Acquisition, Management and Delivery of Parliamentary Information) written by Francis Cave, chair of the controversial International Standards Organisation committee that oversees the OOXML and OpenDocument file formats, and Alex Brown who sits on the British Standards Institute Technical committee that does the same.