Shark attack?

I read  a piece on Public Sector Forums today by Patrick Barnes at Chester. It appears a  company seems to have hijacked elements of his pages into frames and has published it as if it were theirs.

So I checked here…

and sure enough some of our own data was up there. Accessed via the pages our “my Lincolnshire” feature is being used.

Just my opinion of course, and what do I know… but it tends towards passing off at best and deceptive at worst. Patrick’s  suggesting we get together and raise both awareness and clamor.

Patricks full piece makes for interesting reading. You can find it here…

This issue brings into focus the debate about re-use of local government data. Should we allow its free use? Is this re-use or rip off? Is it right for companies such as this to benefit from taxpayers money  etc etc etc?

I’d be interested in your opinions.


10 thoughts on “Shark attack?

  1. Has nobody heard of a frame-busting script?

    This is sooooooo 1999.

    if(top.location != document.location)
    top.location = document.location;

    • Frame busting doesn’t work with js disabled.

      The question here is, it is illegal to take someone elses site and frame it in your own. I doubt it but I’m not a lawyer. Google do it all the time with translatiosn and cached stuff. We ask people not to do it but I don’t think we can really stop them. They’re not even breaking copyright as far as I can tell.

      There is nothing we can do about it except make the data available in a user-fiendly way and hope they do it properly (and by that I mean repurpose the data in their own pages and not frame ours)

      What I would point out is that their ineptitude at this is highlighted by the crappy Lincoln entry and will probably lead to people just not using the site. Don’t give them link space and they will go away.

      • I’m sort of with you on this. I do think the offering is clumsy. I dont see their business case apart from the threatening nature of pay up or else. So reminiscent of Sitemorse’s foray in the Local gov world
        Perhaps this model is as soooo 90s as is suggested by Mr G and as such will disappear as did that passing decade.

        Dont panic and carry on as normal methinks.

      • Oops, typo in my first reply. I meant to say “IS IT illegal to take someone else’s site and frame it in your own?”

        It was a question and the way i had phrased it was open to misinterpretation (as some have done) even though reading it as a statement doesn’t make sense in the context of the rest of the paragraph.

        Another typo … user-fiendly should be user-fRiendly.

        Lesson learned?- read it back before you hit submit!

  2. Personally I think reusing the data should be OK. It’s been publicly released and if somebody wants to go to the effort of collating the information into a national database for the benefit of users then fair enough.

    But the website linked to above is just not on. It’s plain profiteering and leads me to suspect that this is either one of many such websites, or the first of many. I don’t think I’d have a problem with it if it made it obvious it was linking through to the council sites, but it doesn’t do that. Many users might not care, but some would find it useful to know.

  3. Our Park and Ride section were approached some time ago and asked to pay £300 to be included. They turned down this kind offer. I’ve asked our Legal Services for an opinion of the legality of a site ‘framing’ our web page without our consent (every page on the site carried the copyright legend)but in principle I would rather they did this than publish duplicate information which would very soon get out of step. Will probably ask them to send me a formal request for consent to use our data – and also ask that they remove our county logo from their part of the page display. The default lower case text they’ve used in the ‘bath’ example would be more appropriate. I’m not concerned about the adverts. Looks as though they’re using Google Adsense – and if this means they get enough revenue to keep the site going that’s fine with me. If they agree to this I might even offer a link to their site from ours.

  4. There’s no hiding from the omnipotent Google

    Patrick barnes makes an interesting point on PSF here…

    when he suggests you take a look at the postcode on Google maps and streetview for the “company” who is doing the frame wrapping of our content.

    We were looking at a supplier recently for some software. Great web site and zappy self write up but the address in Santa Monica drive San Jose proved to be a corner shop that also did money transfers and sent faxes for the locals. And before you suggest the company perhaps operated from upstairs – it was single storey building. We pursued this no further.
    Though on that basis Microsoft would probably have got no business when they started working out of a garage as I believe they did.

  5. we applied frame-busting code and now see that the information for Cheltenham and Gloucester no longer appears in their list. Cause and effect? Co-incidence? Action?

  6. Meant to add that we didn’t object to the adverts. As I said in my original post if that’s the way to fund it then that’s fine by me. Did object to them framing the site without asking and the fact that anyone navigating within the pages so framed was stuck in their frame even though looking at pages with no relevance to Park and Ride. Confusing for everyonw.

  7. If they were providing a service that isn’t available elsewhere then maybe this could be justified, but they are not.

    Nor are they improving what’s already on offer on local authority websites – they are just putting a frame around the info that’s already there. They are simply taking what is already on council websites and making money off the back of it, incidentally at the same time making the user experience worse while they are at it.

    But for them to try and claim they are providing a public service when that service is already there on each local authority website – never mind actually charging those local authorities to advertise it…..

    In my personal opinion there is no point to this ‘service’ anyway. No-one needs to know where all the park and ride services in the country are anyway, just the one or two they are likely to use.

    But this site will compete in search engine listings with the very same local authority park and ride pages that the users actually want.

    In order to make money it relies on diverting users from where they would be better going to – i.e. the local authority pages, only without the adverts.

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