Computer code on a screen

Blog revamp

I've made some design changes to this blog. For those who are interested, here are the details. Read the full post »
An old envelope with a red wax seal

Encryption & the King of Denmark

A proposal to encrypt all email traffic from server to server. Read the full post »
Side view of a Border collie eating from its bowl, isolated on white

Dogfood and disruption

The new "Development Tracker" website launched in beta by DFID is disruptive in two important ways: one which will appeal especially to open data geeks, and one which will appeal to development geeks. (I am proud to call myself both.) Read the full post »
Aaron Swartz at Boston Wiki Meetup

Development and the death of Aaron Swartz

Aaron Swartz, who died on January 11th, worked and fought for key freedoms of our time: the right to information, to share knowledge and ideas, and to speak freely. This blog post considers the importance of these issues for development, and what we might do to continue his fight. Read the full post »
Justine Greening speaking at the DFID Omidyar Network Open Up! conference

DFID transparency policy is a game-changer

Christmas came early yesterday for campaigners for more effective and accountable aid, with an announcement from DFID which has raised the bar for aid transparency. Read the full post »
Map pointer with padlock in it

World Bank gets open; Google not so much


This blog post first appeared on the Center for Global Development Views from the Center on March 30, 2012.

Google LogoThe World Bank has responded to concerns about its recent agreement with Google with a welcome announcement that it will … Go to to read the rest

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Map pointer with closed lock icon. Vector illustration

Don’t be evil (World Bank & Google edition)

A concern about a World Bank deal with Google: once any data goes in to Google Map Maker, it all becomes the property of Google. Read the full post »

Less information, more data, please

There is a growing trend towards publication of data, rather than or as well as information and analysis. Aid agencies need to move in this direction; and they need to do so in a way that enables the data to be analysed from the perspective of a user - such as a citizen in a developing country. To make this task tractable requires some cooperation among donors to standardize the way the data are published. Read the full post »

Geeky stuff about browsers

<geek stuff>

Obviously I don’t use Internet Explorer because it is (a) not compliant with standards; (b) not safe; (c) Microsoft.  And I don’t use Safari because Steve Jobs is a control freak and I don’t wish to be locked … Go to to read the rest

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Why IP is not like other property

Peter Mandelson has not thought this through:

First, taking something for nothing, without permission, and with no compensation for the person who created and owns it, is wrong. Simple as that.

With respect, it is not as simple as … Go to to read the rest

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Installing Ubuntu Jaunty

Installed the latest Ubuntu Linux (9.04 Jaunty) - overcoming a problem with the installation programme by removing RAM from my computer. Read the full post »

Accessing a web server from within my network

I have a Speedtouch 780 router.  Inside my network is a computer that acts as a media server within the house, and as a mail server (which I use for my personal email) for outside the house.   Until now, I … Go to to read the rest

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National identity register

I said in June that the national identity register should be a federation of connected computer systems, not a single database.

Very sensibly, that is what the Home Office has now announced in the Strategic Action Plan for the National … Go to to read the rest

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The development benefits of more migration

Sebastian Mallaby writes in the Washington Post highlighting the possible gains to developing countries of a relaxation in the migration policies of rich countries.

In ” Let Their People Come ,” a new book published by the Center for Global

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The new consensus on aid effectiveness

Alex Singleton at the Globalisation Institute writes:

Over the past couple of years there has been a growing consensus that conditionality does not work.  … It has failed because imposing good policies on countries that don’t want to do

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The battle of ideas

Jackie Ashley is good in the Guardian today:

To be a liberal does not mean shrugging your shoulders at those who loathe you and hoping that somehow everyone will get on. A world divided between Christian bible-belt fundamentalists, powered by

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Top five trade myths

Fascinating article by Alan Beattie (registration required) on what he says are five common myths of world trade:

1. "Ghana is allowed to sell raw cocoa beans to the European Union, but if it exports finished chocolate it gets hit

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Economics lessons in British schools

According to BBC news the government’s clamp-down on junk food in schools has led to a black market in the playground:

Ring leaders are buying bars of chocolate and packets of crisps in bulk, and making small profits by surreptitiously

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Should we give aid to government budgets?

I’ve got a piece up on the CGD blog about a new evaluation of budget support, which finds that budget support helps to improve capacity for financial management and accountability in developing countries. 

I’ve been a long-time advocate of budget … Go to to read the rest

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