Not all conspiracy theories are compatible. We would suspect a conspiracy if they were. Ross Anderson’s article in yesterday’s Guardian has sparked the splendid suggestion that the furore over PRISM is actually a Treasury led conspiracy against tax avoiding off-shore cloud operations, not just ISPs. Hence the reason the US President affected not to recognise the Chancellor at the G8 conference.
Ross mentions that the BT relationship with Yahoo is now history . He did not link to the reason given: recurrent security breaches. It may be helpful to remind readers that the original plans for RIPA and the Electronic Communications Act 2000 collapsed when US Banks in London obtained Counsel’s opinion on how they could be used to enable Federal access to information on the activities of US citizens that they still cannot get under FISA. Thus we come to the theory that objective of the PRISM publicity is to boost the UK’s position as a location for globally trusted, tax paying, cloud services.
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Now all we need is the investment in reliable generation to prevent the data centres having to be switched off when the wind stops blowing. I am therefore rather flattered to have my blog cited in support of this conspiracy.
Ross’s claim that the publicity has led to the calling in of plans to use US based cloud services is not, however, unallowed good news for UK plc – unless what is left of our inidiginous ICT industry can exploit use the window of opportunity to the full. But that requires a robust approach to allowing accelerated market-driven investment in our communications and energy infrastructures.
Hence my opening comment on the clash between conspiracy theories: one to shut down competition in the UK communications market. The other to open it up. They are, of course, compatible provided one remembers the old saying: “Man from Whitehall, he speak with forked tongue”.