September 2008 Archives

Your life's data in their hands?

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The NHS "Consultation on the wider use of patient information" is the first serious attempt to consult on the levels of privacy that patients expect since those of the NHSIA. A related survey then showed that doctors and nurses were trusted more than medical researchers, let alone managers and receptionists. The current consultation deserves much wider publicity lest policy decisions are based on the view of "experts" as opposed to "real people"    

Is your database really necessary?

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My attention has just been drawn to an article on the value of regularly purging datafiles to cut cost, legal risk cost and enhance security and privacy. It reminded me of a very thoughful contribution to last year's Parliament and the Internet Conference - on the need to pay more attention to disaggregation as one of the safest approaches to enhancing security. 

An ICT-driven crash? The recriminations begin

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The blame game has begun and will reverberate until the lawyers are satiated. But who is responsible for users trusting systems they do not understand? "Any financial instrument that takes more than ten minutes to understand is no more than an attempt to defraud the unwary". My first chief programmer, in 1969 was even ruder about software packages.    

Survival Lessons from the 1991 recession

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Yesterday I participated in a Computer Weekly discussion at the Dorchester on "Optimising the Delivery of IT Services". I was asked to open the discussion, having survived more recessions than the others round the table. In fact there was at least one other veteran of the decimalisation boom and bust of 1971 and most had seen 1991.  

Preparing your organisation for the next ICT Skills Crisis

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We have a multi-track skills market. The staff lucky enough to work for those who participated in the CELRE survey enjoyed increases in line with inflation (RPI) during the year to May 2008 while advertised salaries, as tracked by the equally venerable SSP survey, lagged behind anre are now often lower than for those in post. Meanwhile graduate recruitment programmes have been cancelled and recruitment advertising has fallen sharply.

Superfast Broadband costs less than the 3G Licenses

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Add inflation to what was paid for the 3G licences and you have about the same as the Broadband Stakeholders Groupc believes would cost to bring "superfast" (alias equivalent to that already available around much of the Pacific Rim) to the whole of the UK.  

A Cartel Masquerading as Anarchy: who governs the Internet?

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The Internet is the most concentrated and regulated communications system the world has ever known. Players like Google or Microsoft take a far larger revenue share of the markets within which they operate than Standard Oil, Ma Bell or IBM ever did. Meanwhile over 500 agencies and regulators in the UK alone claim powers to access traffic data or stored content: albeit almost none are capable of securing what they demands.

Have data loss and recession destroyed the case for outsourcing and offshoring?

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The loss of the Home Office prisoner mash-up on an unencrypted USB appears to have triggered a long overdue "review" of the national children's database ("the honeypot for pederasts"). Meanwhile the inflexibility of current contracts and the drop in the value of sterling have triggered similarly fundamental reviews of private sector ICT strategies..

Home Office condemned for losing data mash-up while millions of banks details sold for £35

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The recent Home Office data loss should be put into the perspective of the previously unpublicised loss of a million bank records and the consultation on implementation of the EU Data Retention Directive, plans to collate that which is retained in a central database, the recommendations of papers like "The power of information" and the services already available from Google, let alone those being proposed by Garlik  Phorm and others.

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