Wanted: A New E-Envoy for Britain

A gloomy start to the week, as weekend market pundits predicted falling tech share prices. Some blamed it on industry "uncertainty" about interest rates but most commentators put the boot into Apple, whose pessimistic profit warning triggered a 50 per cent plunge in share price late last week. Even Steve Jobs admitted it: "We've clearly hit a speedbump".

As the Olypic games drew to a close, the IOC declared itself "disappointed" with the Internet as only 15 million "unique users" visited the site instead of a projected 35 million. Given the widely-reported obstruction the IOC displayed toward the Internet during the run-up to the games, our hearts do not bleed.

The Observer ran a ponderous State of the E-Nation piece, full of weighty observations: "the science of Star Trek offers no foundation on which to build a networked society." As we all know, Tony Blair wants to make the UK the "the best place in Europe for e-business", and, continues the Observer's Simon Moores, "in many respects we have already arrived". That's apart from trailing way behind Germany, as reported last week. However, there's a further fly in the ointment - Alex Allan, Blair's UK e-envoy, who was going to help us "embrace both the tyranny and promise of the internet" has resigned, for personal reasons. Open competition for his replacement starts next week, and favourites include Patricia Hewitt, Minister for e-commerce; Richard Barrington, "a technology evangelist on secondment from Sun Microsystems"; and Anne Steward, director of the Central IT Unit and on loan from the Australian government. We're going to plonk our tenner on outsider Kevin Warwick, the wacky academic and consummate self-publicist.

Better news for employees: the Human Rights Act becomes law in the UK today, so you won't have to drag your boss over to Europe to air your grievances. Better still, it has beaten the ill-fated RIP bill to the mark, so your employer will still need your permission to read your emails.

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