WRITTEN ON July 5th, 2009 BY Sir Bonar Neville-Kingdom GCMG KCVO AND STORED IN Foundation of Trust, Identity, Transformational Government, What do we want?

Here is the text of a talk Sir Bonar delivered at the University College of London Open Tech event today:

[check against delivery]

Ladies and Gentlemen: My name is Bonar Neville-Kingdom. I’m very pleased to be invited to speak to you today at Opentech in my capacity as Her Majesty’s most senior civil servant concerned with Information and Communication Technologies (or “ICTs”). I am also, as you probably know, the Prime Minister’s data-sharing czar. I sit at the confluence of the flows of shared personal data around Whitehall and therefore “own” all the aggregated personal data held by government.

I’ve been asked to say a few words today about the benefits of how government uses Opentech and ICTs to provide Intercept Modernisation, Personalised Services, and Safeguarding your Identity.

Perhaps an appropriate starting point is my own inspiration in this work: the divinely-inspired words of the poet Rumi when he speaks of his love of the Almighty, the compassionate, the all-seeing, the all-knowing and all protecting.

I share these words with you today because I think we can say, without immodesty, that something of the sublime spirit of his poetry is reincarnated in our policies for intercept modernisation, for Transformational Government and for Safeguarding your identity.

Intercept Modernisation is merely a plan to maintain the UK’s lawful intercept capabilities in an ever more dangerous world. Devised by a team working under myself, it will ensure our capability lawfully to intercept and exploit data when fighting crime, terrorism and other social abnormalities is not lost. We achive this by the deep inspection of packets. Working with our private sector partners including Serco and PHORM, the project is making excellent progress, and will prove exceptional value for money.

Transformational Government is the way that we deliver personalised services to every man woman and child. We do this by joining up our central holdings of personal data. The Prime Minister has this week announced a legal right for every citizen to have their full medical record uploaded to the central database, with compensation if this is found not to be the case. Similar principles will apply to pupils, to drivers, and to every other aspect of our lives.

Finally I’d like to say a word about Safeguarding your identity which from this week brings our identity policy into the C21st. It is all about empowering people to use the identity government issues them in ways which benefit them and society. Government clearly holds the central role in enabling that process, and we must have a transparent and consistent approach to safeguarding identity information, including online services.

Every Child Matters, Ladies and Gentlemen. And so too does every patient, every personal assistant and every driver. Transformational Government, Intercept Modernisation and Safeguarding your identity make these principles manifest. They are, to conclude, the service which we in Whitehall humbly offer to you all.

To the classicists among you I might say they are both the sine qua non, and the nec plus ultra of a stable and prosperous Britain. Or again, to use a metaphor from the very heart of our Christian Western culture these ICT policies emanate as the Three in One and the One in Three.

The world looks with envy and admiration upon what we have been able to achieve with our Opentech in this country. Indeed my driver awaits to take me to Sunningdale for a workshop with senior Iranian and Chinese delegates who wish to emulate some of our success stories. This is a promising sign for British exports and British jobs.

Ladies and Gentlemen – on that note may I thank you for your kind invitation and – if might say so myself – your rapt attention. I wish you all a very good day.


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