Spotlight: In UK government, secrecy undermines big data plans


The chair of the Public Accounts Committee, Margaret Hodge, has pulled the UK government's transparency agenda into question by criticizing its unwillingness to publish data about struggling IT projects--saying it undermines its plans for taking advantage of big data. Speaking at an EMC roundtable this week on how the public sector can best utilize big data technologies, Hodge was particularly critical of the Treasury and its secrecy surrounding the Universal Credit system. Criticized for being too optimistic of a project, Universal Credit will merge benefits such as jobseeker's allowance, income support, housing benefit, child tax credit, and working tax credit. The Universal Credit IT system will require real-time data on the earnings of every adult. Hodge said the government remains selective about which data it chooses to make available and needs to be more open if it wants to leverage big data analytics.