Privacy enhancing technologies v. the Surveillance State

Further to my blog on the Future of DNA Based Security Clearance , the slldes of the presentations at “A Fine Balance”, including those used by the Earl of Erroll, are on the Cybersecurity KTN website on their “publications page but the event was not videoed and he was not speaking to a script.

Next month the Home Office is due to go out to consult on the Interception Modernsiation Programme – the integrated database that will supposedly enable law enforcement and others to make sense of all that retained data,

Richard Clayton has recently done an FIPR alert drawing attention to press cover on the websites of the BBCTimes, Telegraph, Mirror and Mail.   

I very much hope that all those who read this blog will respond to the Home Office consultation when it comes but I also hope you will put that consultation into the context of both the need to address criminal behaviour over the Internet and the need to re-arm for “the Cold war in Cyberspace”.

We recently had the revelation (papers released under the 40 year rule) that Prime Minister Callaghan understood (as othrrs did not) that had the Russian started World War 3 in 1979 by mining the ports of the UK, instead of launching missiles, it would have been over equally quickly, with a fraction of the physical damage. Today if it started by cutting a dozen or so cable networks and the power supplies to a dozen or so switching centres, the infrastructure of the west could be crippled even more quickly. But perhaps even that is not necessary. Perhaps a co-ordinated botnet exercise would be even quicker and cheaper.  

When you respond to the Home Office consultation, please remember that doing nothing is not a serious option. If you think this is not the right way forward or that the most sensible used of reources, do think about the alternatives – for example resourcing the Police Central E-Crime Unit on a scale similar to the National Cyber-Forensics and Training Allliance .

But when you do, also remmber that industry (financial services, phamarceuticals, aerospace et al as well as telcos, ISPs and e-commerce players) puts more resource into most of the NCFTA task forces than does FBI or DoD.

Over the  past week I have been talking with players in London and Washington about who is really doing what and how politicains should react. It is clear that that world (both challenges and responses) has moved on a long way over the past year – but public debate has not. 

Over the next couple of month I expect to be involved in a couple of very interesting exrcises to try to expedite change and would welcome serious inputs, whether as postings to this blog or via EURIM.