6 January 2023

Gavin Freeguard
Warning: Graphic Content
12 min readJan 6, 2023


Happy New Year!

I hope you had a very merry Christmas and have had a great start to 2023. (Where did December go?!) My new year got off to a smashing start

Happy New Year! (Photo of two beer bottles clinking by Wil Stewart on Unsplash)

I still haven’t quite got my head around the fact it’s 2023, with various bits and pieces from 2022 still to finish off — what I’ve described to some colleagues as ‘the long 2022’ (and will do so again when I write up my 2022 year note imminently — 2021 version here).

So let’s get straight to some bits and pieces from the last few weeks, and for the next few weeks:

  • On the IfG front, December’s Data Bites was a pre-Christmas cracker, we’re running a January one for the first time (all around social mobility and missing data), and the February one will appear here in due course (6pm on Thursday 2 February). We’ve also published the first two of six roundtable write-ups from our data sharing during the pandemic project — on data sharing legislation, and the Clinically Extremely Vulnerable People Service — with four more, a final synthesis report, and a public event to follow.
  • At Connected by Data towers, we continue to await news of the Data Protection and Digital Information Bill, with government’s focus still very much on the Online Safety Bill (indeed, DPDIB doesn’t even warrant a mention in the digital secretary’s light-hearted pre-Christmas list of policy priorities). But there’ll be a write-up soon of an excellent event in parliament about the Bill, automated decision-making, data at work and data in schools (read our September workshop summary in the meantime). I was also lucky enough to attend a roundtable with Shoshana Zuboff before Christmas, where she discussed her new paper — both Tim and Jeni have blogged some thoughts.
  • Over at the Open Data Institute, we’re helping convene the open data track of OpenUK’s State of Open Con in February — more details to follow. There’s been a fair amount of discussion of open data in recent weeks, including this Spectator piece about the Covid dashboard (right to praise it, right in its support and sympathies for the agenda, but quite naive and unfocused in what should come next — pointing a wand at a policy area and exclaiming ‘dashboard!’ doth not a sensible strategy make) and this intriguing parliamentary answer about a forthcoming ‘refresh’ of government’s open data approach. There are also some good people doing a good thing around open addresses. The Prime Minister’s arithmetical announcement was an opportunity to tweet this — navigating the information age well will take a lot more than maths. And I came across a new data-related organisation in government — I wonder if it’s worth a quick post at some point on what’s changed since our 2021 exercise to map the main ones.
  • As for mySociety, we’ll be announcing an event soon to reflect on our TICTeC Labs programme, while various pieces of work we’ve commissioned will continue to appear here over the next couple of months.
  • And… my choir is holding three free rehearsals and a free Come and Sing Saturday over the next few weeks. If you can get to north London, give us a go!

Have a great weekend

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Today’s links:

Graphic content

That was the year that was

Poor health

Crises? What crises?

Viral content

A feast for the Census



Kevin can wait

Talking ‘bout my generation


Weather and climate

Sport and leisure

Data, tech and openness

Everything else

Meta data

That was the year that was

A farewell to harms

GDPR and privacy

Viral content

UK government

Relight my FOIA

Open for the best

AI got ‘rithm

Net gains and losses

Big tech

Big thinking


Information health

Everything else


And finally…

I really should have sent another edition in December

Taking part

Everything else