Monday, November 20, 2006

New UK government e-petitions site

Number 10 have introduced an e-petitions site.

As might be expected some of the petitions are bizarre, some funny and some actually sensible and the PM would do well to take note of them. How representative they are isn't clear, as any kind of "work email" distribution campaign can quickly garner signatures even for rather foolish ideas.

Still I signed the one for taxing energy inefficient incandescent lightbulbs, since it's been one of my pet topics for a while now.

I've also tried creating one of my own - to suggest the government creates usury limits preventing lenders charging more than a certain rate of interest over the central bank rate. This exists in the US, but not in the UK. I suggested 25% (ie bank rate + 20%) as a sensible maximum.

Some more amusing petitions include ones encouraging Tony Blair to "stand on his head and juggle ice cream" and "RESIGN, DISSOLVE PARLIAMENT, CALL ELECTION"

I have to disagree with the petitioner asking the PM to "Make this site secure using https" - as https only means the connection between the browser and the site is secure against sniffing, it doesn't mean the site itself is secure. A hacker could connect to the site through a supposed 'secure' https link and then hack it as usual if the web application running on it wasn't securely built. For anyone interested in web application security, the Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) site is a good place to start.

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