Regulating Big Tech – Can’t They Keep The Story Straight?

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We must regulate big tech because, well, it’s big and it’s tech, d’ye see? What, after all, is the point of striving to be a committee member if the committee doesn’t gain power over other people and their lives?

At which point there’s a certain problem with the claim being made:

Big tech moved at a scale and speed that states and regulators couldn’t match.

The regulators didn’t know what they were doing.

There was a skills gap – career politicians and their advisers lacked expertise to even identify the problems, let alone design fixes.

Ah, no, the potential regulators were in fact clueless twats who didn’t know what the hell they should be doing.

But the solution is still that the know-nothing addlepates should be insistent upon using their power to do whatever the hell they have no sodding clue about.

Because, you know, regulation is good and not-regulation is bad.

At which point we rather see the problem with government regulation, don’t we? It’s not just the usual and general suspicion that it’s the clueless thrashing about we’ve here the insistence that it is and yet still we must have it.

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Quentin Voledodgy geezerPcarMichael van der RietSpike Recent comment authors
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Mr Yan
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Mr Yan

And yet they will claim they also need to be paid the same level of wages as the private sector to attract talent. That might work if they sacked the useless lot first but that never happens (see also Members of Parliament).

Spike
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Spike

Of course the regulators were “clueless twats”: They were political appointees, mostly hired because of their acquaintances or contributions.

Let’s be clear; all businesses are regulated by the Judiciary, also by desire for reputation and repeat business and fear of boycott. What we are discussing is the need for prior restraint. It is not a choice between a permit-issuing bureaucracy and complete anarchy.

TD
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TD

Having had some involvement in real estate development projects over the years, it’s not difficult for me to see how this might work. After all, it’s reaching a point where you can’t even paint your house without multiple levels of approval in some locales. So, imagine a review committee of some sort to approve all new business ventures. Before being granted a business license you’d have to have your plan approved. But before getting approval you might need to first obtain an EIR (Economic Impact Report) that would assess (or at least speculate on) the effect your new business would… Read more »

Gavin Longmuir
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Gavin Longmuir

TD — Excellent point! In my US County, it took some entrepreneurs 2 years to get all the approvals simply to re-open a closed-down restaurant on the edge of town.

Looking at the bigger picture, governments can’t cut spending and can’t raise taxes enough to pay for their spending. When they run out of the ability to borrow and print, the remaining option would be to — Roll Back Excessive Regulations! Let an expanding economy increase their tax base and tax collections.

Spike
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Spike

As the US first started pursuing “affordable health care,” legislators obviously attacked the biggest-ticket items: capital expenditures such as buying (life-saving) tools. In many states, a hospital can’t buy a CAT scanner or open a branch without getting a Certificate Of Need (CON). Often the “need” for a tool depended on the competitors who already owned one.

Yes, regulators also focused on “excessive” management salaries, and if they had intervened here, it could have wrecked hospitals even faster.

Michael van der Riet
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Michael van der Riet

You twats are jut a tiny bit ageist, aren’t you? Permission boards of all kinds at all levels are filled by thirty and forty somethings who have wangled themselves after much apple-polishing into a position where they can levy unlimited bribes from applicants.

dodgy geezer
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dodgy geezer

During the 1970s-1990s, the UK Government maintained a body called the Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency. This was a group of Civil Service experts, augmented by seconded industry staff. Their job was to provide specialist consultancy on computer projects and develop appropriate methodologies and support tools for government work. Many of the now-world standard computer methods were developed here – PRINCE, Prompt, SSADM, the ISO 27000 security standards, ITIL….. and government projects supported by CCTA came in on time and under budget. The agency was closed down after the computer industry successfully persuaded the Thatcher government that industry could do… Read more »

Pcar
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Pcar

@dodgy geezer

PRINCE & SSADM are sh1t. SSADM is process driven, whereas in age of RDBs data driven was/is better. LBMS, who created them for CCTA, went bust because private sector concluded their SSADM/LSDM was useless in an agile data driven worrld.

Do you mean government projects supported by CCTA (which didn’t came in on time and under budget) such as GPASS which never worked properly?

dodgy geezer
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dodgy geezer

Name me a company which doesn’t use PRINCE, or a PRINCEish project methodology. SSADM was rather all things to all men – it uses entity life histories and data-flow diagrams if you want to be data driven. I note that you don’t comment about ITIL, or the 27000 standard which is currently the foundation for all the world’s security standards… I can’t remember anyone at CCTA working on GPAS – that was an internal project by NHS Scotland. Still, it lasted about 30 years, which is quite impressive for a system written in BASIC in the 80s. Perhaps a more… Read more »

Pcar
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Pcar

GPASS 80s/90s (pre Devolution) rewrite was CCTA, PRINCE, SSADM & LBMS; it went on and on and on gobbling up money then when rolled out was deemed worse than BASIC prdecessor. In use in some practises for ~10 years then binned.

Not a glowing accolade for CCTA, PRINCE & SSADM

dodgy geezer
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dodgy geezer

10 years? That software ran for 10 years in a technical environment where even Microsoft operating systems had a lifespan of between 2-5 years. Sounds remarkably successful to me. Even leaving aside the politics behind the decision to go with an in-house Scottish developed product rather than a standard commercial one… As I noted before, I can’t see any comment about any of the other world-beating products such as ITIL or the work which became the 27000 standard – so I assume that you are fully in agreement about those. Taking those alone and ignoring all the other ground-breaking work… Read more »

Pcar
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Pcar

GPASS V2 – some practices said “no thanks”, we’ll pay for private rather than free crap.

~10 years in public sector is blink of eye, used by some ever declining number of GP Practises given it for free who perservered due to Gov’t pressure, then had to bin it and move – not good outcome for a multi-billion pound ‘investment’

As for ITIL etc, I respond to what I know about, not responding does not imply endorsement; and no benefit for me researching them. I knew about GPASS disaster from professional and personal contacts

I guess you’re a public sector employee?

dodgy geezer
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dodgy geezer

“…some practices said “no thanks”, we’ll pay for private rather than free crap….” So, in your view, a piece of software is only successful if it has 100% takeup? “…..~10 years in public sector is blink of eye…..” It may be the blink of an eye compared to the history of the entire public sector, but it’s a huge period of acceptance for a particular version of a software item during the 1980s-1990s. Software which is a failure is released, has low market penetration and is never heard of again – this would appear to be greatly successful, given it… Read more »

Quentin Vole
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Quentin Vole

I’ve spent the last couple of decades helping organisations to gain and maintain 27001 certification (back to the days when it was BS7799). It’s a management standard (like ISO9000) – it shows you have the necessary management procedures in place to achieve your desired level of security. It’s not (purely) a technology standard – and organisations that treat it as such are unlikely to pass an assessment. This post isn’t implying that nothing good came out of CCTA, though I agree with Pcar that PRINCE is crap (but then I’m not aware of a project management standard that isn’t) and… Read more »