Tuesday, 21 April 2009

New Google products

Google have launched 2 new experimental products that change the way you can search for images and news.

Google News Timeline
A web application that organizes information chronologically. Google News Timeline allows users to view news, scanned newspapers and magazines, blog posts, sports scores, and more on a zoomable, graphical timeline.

Google Similar Images
Search for images using pictures rather than words. Similar images helps you narrow your search by finding images that are visually similar to an existing result.

You can keep up to date with these and similar developments through the Google Labs site and their RSS feed - http://www.googlelabs.com/

Saturday, 4 April 2009

Database State report

'Database State' is a report written by FIPR for the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust on the failings of public-sector IT in Britain, and how to fix them.

"In recent years, the Government has built or extended many central databases that hold information on every aspect of our lives, from health and education to welfare, law-enforcement and tax. This 'Transformational Government' programme was supposed to make public services better or cheaper, but it has been repeatedly challenged by controversies over effectiveness, privacy, legality and cost. The report charts these databases, creating the most comprehensive map so far of what has become Britain's 'Database State'. All of these systems had a rationale and purpose. But this report shows how, in too many cases, the public are neither served nor protected by the increasingly complex and intrusive holdings of personal information invading every aspect of our lives."

From the Foundation for Information Policy Research

Friday, 3 April 2009

Websites for children must register their moderators, says new law

Organisations with interactive websites likely to be used mainly by children must ensure that staff moderating the sites are not barred from working with children from October.

It will be a criminal offence for an organisation to knowingly employ a barred person for a regulated role, such as moderating children's sites. The Government is changing the way that it controls who has access to children and vulnerable adults and new laws take effect on 12th October. Those make the moderation of online services such as bulletin boards a regulated activity.

That means that anyone on the list of people banned from working with children will also be banned from moderating online services that are likely to be accessed and used by children. The same is true of people on the list relating to vulnerable adults in connection with online services likely to be used by vulnerable adults.

The Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act was introduced in 2006 and has been modified by a commencement order which expands it to include some online services as regulated activities, meaning that they cannot be performed by anyone on the list of banned people.The new law includes as a regulated activity "moderating a public interactive communication service which is likely to be used wholly or mainly by children".

This is from Out-law.com. Read more here http://www.out-law.com/page-9762