W(h)ither the UK Database Nation?
Published 15:14, 23 July 08
The court’s view was that health care staff who are not involved in the care of a patient must be unable to access that patient’s electronic medical record: “What is required in this connection is practical and effective protection to exclude any possibility of unauthorised access occurring in the first place.” (Press coverage here.)
A “practical and effective” protection test in European law will bind engineering, law and policy much more tightly together. And it will have wide consequences. Privacy compaigners, for example, can now argue strongly that the NHS Care Records service is illegal.
To say nothing of the central ID card database that permits all kinds of decentralised access....
Posted by Glyn Moody at 3:38 PM
Open Access to Drugs (Data)
Here's an interesting confluence of trends:
The Wellcome Trust has awarded £4.7 million [€5.8 million] to EMBL's European Bioinformatics Institute [EMBL-EBI] to support the transfer of a large collection of information on the properties and activities of drugs and a large set of drug-like small molecules from the publicly listed company Galapagos NV to the public domain. It will be incorporated into the EMBL-EBI's collection of open-access data resources for biomedical research and will be maintained by a newly established team of scientists at the EMBL-EBI.
So here we have commercial drugs data being put into the public domain - no restrictions - and managed by one of the key public databases.
The transfer will empower academia to participate in the first stages of drug discovery for all therapeutic areas, including major diseases of the developing world. In future it could also result in improved prediction of drug side-effects.
Given that the current, capital-intensive method of drug development, which is highly skewed to coming up with drugs for rich, obese Westerners, this openness to all is important: it means that one of the key barriers to discovering new therapies is down, in part, at least.
And as Peter Suber rightly notes:
Kudos to Galapagos and Wellcome Trust not only for opening these data, but for choosing the public domain rather than a license. This fits with Science Commons' latest thinking on barrier-free research and collaboration in the Protocol for Implementing Open Access Data.
Public domain redux....
Posted by Glyn Moody at 3:29 PM
UK Public Sector Information Unlocking Service
Gosh, this is getting to be a habit:
As the regulator for public sector information re-use, we know that people can encounter difficulty from time to time getting hold of the information they need in the formats they want. Such difficulties can include issues with charging, licensing or the data standards that public sector information is provided in.
These issues are not about access (which are dealt with under access legislation, such as the Freedom of Information Act or Environmental Information Regulations), but all the other pitfalls which can occur when you want to do something with public sector information - copy it, remix it with other data or add value and republish it. If you are trying to re-use some public sector information, but the data you need is locked-up, this service is for you.
Posted by Glyn Moody at 1:59 PM
DYB DYB DYB for Drigg
I took Drigg this far, but I am fatigued. I wrote Drigg not out of passion for programming, but because I felt that the whole world needed it. I wrote several thousands of line of code in a very short time, and kept fixing bug after bug. I also took the step of splitting Drigg into several sub-module--a painful, bold and much needed move. Not, the big reports are very few and Drigg is very well structured.
I am now looking for a new co-maintainer who can take the lead in Drigg's development. I am not a programmer, and I don't feel I am the right person to push this project any further. There are important features that need to be implemented, and I am just too slow. I am not a very skilled programmer, and it simply shows. The code is good out of immensely hard work, and this means that development is slow. I feel the community deserves better.
I will still be here! People who know me and trust me know that I will hold the hand of the new maintainer and will make sure that everything is going the right direction. I will be here, via email, IM, phone, etc. The new maintainer needs to know:
* Drupal modules
If you would like to take over an immensely important, exciting, lively project, please let me know now ("merc" followed my "mobily1" and then ".com").
Posted by Glyn Moody at 1:14 PM
Open Source in European Public Administrations
If you're trying to keep up with the increasing number of public administrations in Europe discovering the joys of free software, here's a handy resource: the Open Source Observatory and Repository.
The OSOR provides a platform for the exchange of information, experiences and FLOSS-based code for the use in public administrations. Your are invited to participate in this exchange and make use of the OSOR services:
* international news on Open Source topics;
* a repository with code and documentation on software for public administrations;
* a state-of-the art forge for working together.
The value and usefulness of the platform will increase with the number of contributors and of contributions that are offered for sharing.
Everybody is welcome as a user. However, if you want to upload code and information or intend to open a community project, you will have to register on the forge. In case you come from the business sector, you will be required to reference a sponsor from the public sector.
The OSOR admits all free, libre, and open source software that is distributed under licenses that are recognised by the Free Software Foundation (FSF) or the Open Source Initiative (OSI) and code that is released under the European Union Public License (EUPL).
And remember: it's all about sharing....
Posted by Glyn Moody at 1:00 PM
Russian Schools A-Rushin' to Free Software
В более чем 50% школ пилотных регионов, в которых запланирована установка пакетов свободного программного обеспечения (ПСПО), дистрибутивы уже установлены.
На данный момент в общей сложности ПСПО установлены в 572 школах республики Татарстан, Пермского края и Томской области (из запланированных 1084).
[Via Google Translate: In more than 50% of schools pilot regions, where the scheduled installation of free software packages (PSPO), distributions have been installed.
So far a total of PSPO installed in 572 schools in the republic of Tatarstan, Perm Territory, and Tomsk region (of the planned 1084).]
Posted by Glyn Moody at 12:32 PM
Originally posted at Open... This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 2.0 UK: England & Wales Licence. Please link back to the original post.
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