Power of Info chairman joins Facebook

Slightly more exciting than the headline might suggest… Richard Allan, the former LibDem MP who chaired the Power Of Information Taskforce has been hired by Facebook. The Guardian reports that he left his job as Cisco’s head of European regulatory affairs ‘to lead [Facebook’s] efforts in lobbying EU governments.’ Allan hasn’t had a lot to say about the move on his own website, apart from a Twitter reference to starting a new job.

As for Facebook itself? – if you try to access the obvious vanity URL, facebook.com/richardallan, you get forwarded to /richard.allan (note the dot), which is someone else entirely. Nice touch, Facebook HR.

Power of Information taskforce blog

It’s a relief that the Power of Information taskforce, announced by Tom Watson a couple of months back, has launched a blog. Although apparently running since April, it’s only had a handful of postings… and its about page still lacks some basic information, like who exactly is in it. The initial posts include many references to ‘we’, without ever naming anyone other than the taskforce’s press officer. It also feels a bit strange that we didn’t know about the blog’s existence sooner: I’m grateful to Dave for the tip-off, without which…

On the bright side, it’s running on WordPress :), and it looks like the posts are being written by chairman Richard Allan himself (although you’d only find that out by scouring the RSS code). Comments are open, but moderated: and whilst none are yet showing, I’ve added a couple of thoughts which might stir things up a bit.

I was particularly stirred by an item on Information Architectures, which opens:

Models for presenting information over the internet have often been driven by their ’shiny front ends’. The user-facing website is all important and the supporting data is somehow squeezed into this. Thinking has moved on over recent years…

Maybe I’m reading it wrongly, but that reads like criticism to me. Am I the only one who thinks (a) a ‘front end first’ approach, you might call it ‘user-centric’, is actually a very good thing; and (b) more often than not, the front end is the last element to get any serious consideration in big government projects?