back to article Spooks' favourite IT firm tells Reg readers to grow up

Detica managing director Martin Sutherland wants to have a privacy debate with you, but reckons you need to grow up a bit first. As boss of the UK intelligence establishment's favourite IT contractor - now part of the UK defence establishment's favourite megacorp, BAE Systems - he's well aware of the tension between what's …

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Troll

Mature conversation?

He is a big poopy head

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What matters ... is how they're used.

Even if we could trust the current government with our personal data (we can't, but that's another problem), what matters is not just how these databases are now used, but how the data collected could be misused later.

Does Martin Sutherland want to talk about the Dutch census data used by the Nazis to hunt down Jews? Or the US census data illegally used by the Roosevelt administration to find Japanese-Americans and put them in internment camps?

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Anonymous Coward

Irrelevant

I'll start thinking about that once I'm happy that I can trust the government with personal data that's potentially open to abuse. As I don't see how that's possible, his whole argument is irrelevant.

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Stop

Arrogant beyond belief

So "we'll have your data eventually, like it or not"

Instead of being "childish" and trying to prevent this, "grow up and tell us how you think we should use it - but consider this - you'll never know we've kept to the agreement".

I think this greedy little man needs to think less about lining his own pockets and more about humanity.

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Big Brother

Who needs to grow up ?

Burglary is not a problem related to leaving your doors unlocked but due to thieves nicking things. Disingenuous at best and the moral is don't facilitate abuse in the first place, oppose collection.

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errors

its not so much the collection I care about, let them snow themselves under if they want, though I do object to paying for it.

my issue is the fact people view the "database" as perfect, since to admit it has errors reduces its value, but it will get things wrong, but there tends to be no easy way to correct these mistakes.

oh and coupled with el'govs tendancy to make the victim responsible for any mistakes they make.

if these things are oh so useful *sell* the benefits properly, not with vauge staements ala ID cards, tell me what I get out of letting you have all this?

i'd love a 100% linked up database, the gov stores my address etc, then makes it illegal for companies to do so,

oh and since you have all my details i guess i;ll never need to apply for benefits, tax rebates etc, it will all be automatic right?

thought not

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FAIL

Bullshit!

"What matters in terms of privacy, according to Detica, is how they're used."

No, what matters in terms of privacy is Data Troughing where every possible detail is being recorded on databases, whether it's actually needed (or justified).

"Where investigations are directed in a more focussed way it means members of the public will not be investigated unnecessarily"

No, members of the public should not be investigated *AT ALL* unless there are reasonable grounds for suspicion!

This is just a piece of post-hoc spin trying to justify holding large amounts of data by saying "trust us, we won't look too hard at your information, honestly!"

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FAIL

I'm innocent! I have nothing to fear!

So he seems to be suggesting that, if we all agree to be monitored, tagged, database-enrolled, tracked, surveilled, profiled and data-mined, then the innocent among us will have nothing to fear as the authorities will only pursue the suspicious? Oh, where to begin...

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WTF?

BAE?

This the same BAE that cannot be trusted to not arm psycho dictators in third-world states, so the government troops can basically ride rough shod over even the most basic of human rights?

I have no wish to discuss anything with anyone who has anything to do with BAE systems!

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Paris Hilton

time factor

""The debate should be about how you process the data," Sutherland said."

Kind of accurate, only lacking the time factir. The debate should in fact be "you get the data, *now* (if harvesting is allowed)", and you process it in the *future*.

The consequence is, then, that you have no idea *how* it's processed when you give it away !

Given some of the data is DNA samples that last from birth to death, you then get why people are worried about it, quite rightly.

PH icon, since she got it back then, and it's been put all over the place, some time after

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Bullshit

The guy's selling snake oil; he's just another degenerate parasite who wants to make money from our fear. Screw him, and Gordon Brown too for that matter; we've all learnt how much we can trust these bozos.

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Anonymous Coward

Re-evaluation needed

Regarding keeping more data, Sutherland gets it completely wrong in my opinion ... unless he does think we are all children.

If data isn't going to be used for a purpose, then it shouldn't be collected in the first place. As far as our overlords are concerned, having the data there is just asking for it to be used in any which way they want; they'll deal with the consequences in the very unlikely occurance that they are found out.

The article deals with a number of issues, DDoS attacks, etc. but it is the growing number of databases and the information that they hold which is of concern, certainly to me. If the likes of 118800 and their cronies think they can buy and sell my personal information and that the Information Comissioner can get stuffed, then what chance does Joe public stand if the Government decides to increase the personal data it holds on us all?

Regardless of who his competitors are, the government shouldn't be compiling this information ... full stop. That's the argument.

Once you have a load of data, you can mine it to prove whatever you like depending on how you phrase the question. Already existing information on insurance claims is one thing, but collecting informtion which has no purpose is not acceptable; a point which seems to be lost in what reads to me to be much irrelevant comparison with other data usage in an attempt to justify more government data collection on behaviour.

This is starting to sound like $cientology on a national government scale to me. If you don't like what they're saying, ensure you have enough data-dirt on them to discredit them.

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Stop

It's very easy...

No database, no privacy problem. Sorted.

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Very nice....

So his way of closing down any debate on wether there should be a database in the first place is to call people names? Grow up...

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Grenade

Pot, meet kettle

> two people separately reported their cars, registered at the same address, had been damaged at the same time.

By the same vandal? Or the same falling tree? Or one hit the other? Lots of innocent explanations, but if they continue assuming ANY coincidence => [fraud|paedophile|terrorist], then they're the immature ones

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FAIL

Let's have that debate.

I'll grow up and discuss it maturely and dispassionately, with personal interests set aside.

He can quit his job and surrender his shares, to be sure there's no vested interest there either.

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Anonymous Coward

Disingenous

The insurance companies example is irrelevant anyway. They are given information (and a fee) in return for providing cover and it is understandable that they will use this to prevent fraud.

The various government databases are compiled of information taken without consent and we have no control, or even influence, over how that data is used and abused. An earlier commenter points out how data has been abused in the past and only a fool would think it won't happen again.

What we need is absolute opt-in on all databases and regulation to ensure our details are deleted when requested. This especially applies to govt. held data.

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Anonymous Coward

Ok

I want those who access my record(s) on a database to tell me every single time they do so, the name of the individual or program who did so, and the reason why. And they better provide it with some sort of markup, so I can easily process it.

I'd be less unhappy with all these databases if their use was transparent, so that I could complain about any unreasonable usage.

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Big Brother

God Bless IBM

"the Dutch census data used by the Nazis to hunt down Jews? Or the US census data illegally used by the Roosevelt"

IBM data processing technology vendor of choice for the Third Reich, stunningly lethal when coupled with the cold calculating and ruthlessly efficient German logic

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Big Brother

Ding Dong - Message for Martin Sutherland

Dear Mr Sutherland

Take your intrusive pieces of kit along with the IMP/MTI probes and shove them where the sun doesn't bloody well shine.

Yours sincerely,

Mr Jolly.

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Coffee/keyboard

Vested Interest Talks up Conditions Favourable to their Interest...

enough said really.

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Black Helicopters

Not the collection, but how it is used?

So, by extension, he would have no problem with me trailing him everywhere with a video camera, refusing to tell him what I'm doing with the footage, and making no assurances that it won't "accidentally" be interspersed with footage from www.manlylove.com before decisions that will affect his life and liberty are made on the contents of his footage by deranged baboons, and a laptop containing said footage is left on an unencrypted laptop on the 5.15 to Birmingham?

Twat.

(PS: AC @ 11:09, "Mature Conversation" - New monitor, please....!)

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FAIL

Stupid man

Its Sutherland who needs to grow up.

Obviously the data that is stored, how it may be processed and the use to which it may be put are inextricably linked. You cannot process data that doesn't exist and you cannot misuse data that you don't have.

What it boils down to is the following question:-

"Does the system store only the data it needs to perform its specified role?"

If a system stores data that *exceeds* its published requirements/roles then the question has to be asked: "Why is data item X being stored when there is no *published* requirement to do so?"

In the case of the NIR it is obvious that data is being stored beyond its purpose as described by the Government (verifying the identity of persons in the UK). To perform this task it does *not* need to store full fingerprint profiles, a hash value is more than sufficient.

So you have to ask *why* does the NIR store full biometric profiles? Which leads us on to how those full profiles may be processed and used, either now or in the future?

Saying "its not about the data, its about how it is used" is like trying to disassociate a disease from the organism that causes it.

Stupid, stupid man!

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Anonymous Coward

Name calling

So he's aware that the privacy debate has swung strongly against his views and has no real answer other than name calling?

My data, not yours, my right to privacy on that data, not a discussion as to how you can use it.

There is no case to answer, he has zero right to my data and I have full rights to privacy and that is written into my human rights.

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Okay...

we might need to grow up but Sutherland definitely needs to get his head out of his own arse. He and others of his ilk (I'm looking at you Etrugrul) should have details such as telephone numbers, addresses, email addresses, info about spouse/kids all posted on a publicly accessible database- let's see how they like it. And then use the "it's how the data is used" argument right back at them when they inevitably ask for the database to be taken down.

Sutherland cannot predict how our private data will be used in the future and/or by other depts and governments. Just as I cannot predict how his data would be used by the general public if made available as suggested.

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Anonymous Coward

Stasi! Stasi! Stasi!

The more I read about surveillance the more it gets my hackles up. Whatever 'good' he claims his company is doing society remember it is there to make a profit. So he will try to justify the intrusive nature of what he does and the cost. Yet a recent support into NSA surveillance suggests such data-ming isn't anywhere as effective as hoped. The worst thing is is that there has been no real debate about this in Parliament. Even though a new Communications Data Bill is due to go through all the talk seems to be as if it is done & dusted. So much for democracy. I suspect even if the government lose they'll find some way to justify it. I now think it is time that we realised that the government don't care about the freedoms we used to enjoy and are determined to profile everyone some kind of potential risk to society. We do now live in a police state. What we must do is be as unco-operative and evasive as possible. We should make it as difficult as possible for the security services to build profiles of us all (which I believe is the ultimate aim of IMP).

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I promise not to misuse YOUR data

Tell you what, Mr Sutherland, you trust me with all YOUR data and I'll trust you with all mine. Let's start with the BAE defence stuff. Just send me an unencrypted memory stick with all your classified corporate and commercially sensitive stuff on it - I'll promise honest, God's truth, cross my heart and hope to die, on my granny's grave, not to lose it, or tell anyone about it. In fact I promise not to even look at it. Fair deal? After all - its not the collection that counts, it's what we DO with it? Wasn't that your point? And we can trust the government and we can trust private enterprise - can we? You can certainly trust me, I'm a man of my word.

Of course you won't do that. You'd be mad to do it. I feel the same way actually. And with good cause. I have already seen what the government DO with my data, and what private companies do with it. My data has been lost by the tax authorities, stolen from the Ministry of Defence, lost or sold by private companies, exposed on the internet, and passed on to third parties by companies who told me it wouldn't be. I KNOW what gets done with it. That's why I don't like it being collected and centrally collated. I really do not think that is immature. It's just realistic.

And finally - I think you are understating the power of the processing that can be done. I've been reading Bruce Schneier. According to him a LOT more can be done with our data than YOU are suggesting. And I trust him.

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Has Detica HyperRadioProActive Competition for Cyber Security Gravy Train/Sticky Sweet Trolley?*

"Sutherland and his head of security and risk David Porter reported that Detica's R&D department is working on network defence technology - suitable for commercial and government applications - that it says will be able to tackle novel attacks."

MeThinks they shall not even be able to shepherd them. The Best Plan would be to mount a Better Novel Attack and lead Virtually in the Field but that does require ESPecial Personnel in the Key Driver Chain Channels ..... of Authorisation.

Someone once said it is easier to apologise than to ask permission, and they were not wrong.

* Does the Pope wear a funny hat?

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Grenade

Will software spot patterns of...

insurance companies ripping off the public?

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Big Brother

So we are told we MUST trust gov and BAE with this data...

When, as the article so clearly shows, BAEs very business model is based on mission creep?

Develop a tech, then try to ply said tech to as many diverse applications as possible to maximise profits?

Trust isn't readily given to organisations that habbitually betray it, either through miguided good intentions, insidious motives, or good old fashioned incompetence.

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Grenade

Yes how could databases be misused...

...I mean immature behaviour by a teenager is soooo evil !

You will confirm, you will conform.

http://www.eis.na.baesystems.com/manufacturing_intern/smart_choices.htm

You sir, are an arse!

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All you need to know

is that this person effectively works for NuLabour. If knowing that, you still believe a single word he says or trust him one iota I have a bridge in Brooklyn you might be interested in buying.

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Alert

(Non) Value Add

Joe Pleb to Gub'mint: "So, what _are_ you going to do with it?"

That's the point, really. We are _already_ debating about how the data is processed; we see examples *EVERY DAY* how the data is manipulated, twisted, and "analysed" to such a state that Gub'mint assumes someone is a Jew^H^H^H Terrorist because one of his grandparents is of a certain religion or nationality. Suddenly, vast swathes of innocent people become "necessarily" investigated.

But the "investigation" isn't done by someone doing interviews with coworkers, associates, or relatives, or even deigning to see what is going on with their own eyes and mind. Its done by, again, the database and its biased, prejudiced, and unethical "analyses". They want the "perfect machine" to judge innocence. Is this because they no longer trust themselves, or just because they are too lazy to take responsibility for their "vaunted" efforts?

If "the machine" says it is so, IT MUST BE TRUE. If it (however possibly remote) made a mistake, then its not MY fault, is it Citizen? It must be YOUR problem for not supplying the proper information, ISN'T THAT RIGHT?

What can a humble Subject of the Crown (or Resident [Citizen] of the State over here) do? What has any hope of preventing this travesty from happening against him? By stopping the wholesale. gluttonous slurping of his personal details and private dealings before it becomes sucked up, and instantly out of date or irrelevent.

If the Gub'mint really did do something useful with the information - EVEN OSTENSIBLY - such as automatically file tax returns (from the existing reports from companies about how much money is paid to employees, and how much tax was paid to HMRC), automatically apply for benefits (from existing reports of fire, death of parent as a minor, etc. through NHS, etc.), etc. But then again, the poor plods can't even get or keep their own little digital fiefdoms in line; continually putting out misreported earnings vs. tax, unable to determine proper road tax, unable to get a clue about what they are doing with *THE DATA THEY ALREADY HAVE*, let alone the huge, fat dripping, data deluge they are gagging for.

It may have been a sensationalized film, but I for one am contributing to pay rights for public showings of the film "V", and other "subversive films"(?!) here in the Colonies. We need examples to show what is going wrong *RIGHT NOW*. Isn't it "A Bad Thing" when the dystopian "fiction" films of Hollywood are becoming today's headlines?!

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Pint

Well said Martin

Sounds ok as long as the government doesn't try to sell my details, get enough junk mail aready. As long as the naughty people are caught i don't mind...

Detica are a good company, British success story, kicking ass over their competitors.

I'd trust Martin Sutherland more than Gordon Brown.... can never trust a politician....

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Pirate

I never intend to grow up!

I intend to think like an 8 year old, using the knowledge I have but with the openness & as much innocence as I can maintain.

Lack of imagination, unwillingness to take both the past & present into consideration, Intransigence & over Authoritarian views on either side of the argument are usually what causes the problems!

From an old fuddy duddy who really know better :)

BAH HUMBUG!

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Anonymous Coward

Where was this muppet educated?

This is how you kick it off, accuse most of Tech in the UK of being childish. Brilliant, I am sure no one in the world will rise to the challenge of going after your infrastructure after you have announced you're dealing with personal data, well done captain blunder.

What are Martin Sutherland's credentials? I assume he can at least code all the products he is selling? I assume he has indepth knowledge of all the operating systems he is going to be defending? Or is he just a figure head, the child in the operation, stumbling around creating bad PR for Detica?

Come on Detica employees, you must know this guy, what do you think of him, does he really live up to this grown up and fully aware moniker that he tries to implicitly attach to himself, or is he really just a fool blundering around, is he some ace computer science guy that actually know what he is talking about, or does he just see himself as a <del>parasite</del> <ins>facilitator</ins>.

What does Martin Sutherland actually do?

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Jobs Horns

Its not about the purpose, its about control

"By identifying potential targets based on anomalies and hypotheses rather than starting with the individual, it helps balance security and privacy concerns."

Google translate gives me the following result;

"By gathering vast amounts of personal and private communication data without concern for a warrant, we get to pick out non-conformists, peace protestors, hippies, climate campaigners, and go on speculative fishing trips... rather than doing some proper detective work to identify the most serious and dangerous crooks who will never use unencrypted comms in any case"

Its not about the purpose (however noble the cause). Its about control of information about me. I won't surrender control over my communications data without a fight.

The UK is not a nation of criminal suspects.

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IT Angle

Dear Mr Sutherland

I note from your comments to Elreg, that you say the debate should be about how you process data.

My own concerns on the subject matter is who is allowed to access the data, and for what purpose?

What assurances will I have of the data being secure?

What reasons would a Civil Servant or Government contractor have for downloading the data to a laptop, USB key, or disc storage, whereby the storage device could be mistakenly misplaced, lost or stolen? Should there be a need for the data to be downloaded in the first place?

Who is allowed to access the data, for instance, practically almost any person with a bit of savvy can telephone the DVLA and obtain details about a vehicle owner. Whilst our politicians and Government allow instances like this to take place, how can I as an individual trust the Government, politicians and contractors in keeping my data secure?

Why should any individual or organisation be able to obtain details about the value of my vehicle and it's performance by way of sending my vehicle registration via SMS to a company, because said company want to profit from what I consider private and personal information about my vehicle.

There are a variety of concerns Mr Sutherland, and those concerns need to be addressed from people like yourself, without you having to insult or patronise people in the way you have with your comments to elreg.

If a debate is to take place, then I would like to see factors such as "the security of data, who can access the data, how data is updated, the removal of obsolete data, keeping correct data, and the quantity of data" being debated,

I am not against the storing of data and for it's well intentioned purpose, but I do have concerns, especially in the light of day, when we know for a fact that data has been lost by Government, Civil Servants, and Contractors, and furthermore IT systems are not fully secure..

Convince me by relieving me of my concerns, and then perhaps you would perhaps receive more support, (and less immaturity).

Kind regards

Tom

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Grenade

BAE

Y'see its not the people we irresponsibly arm the world over...

It's where they keep putting the bullets, bombs and missiles...

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Anonymous Coward

Collection and processing

may be different things, but they are the same overall. The reason we have problems with the collection of data is because we don't trust the processing of said data. We don't trust those who will be processing it now, we don't trust those who will be processing it in future, we don't trust that any promises regarding the data processing will either be kept or that the rules will not be changed. In short it is a trust thing. And all the evidence shows we can't trust the politicians and we can't trust the private enterprises who pay the politicians to be awarded the contracts to process our data.

I think we are fucking well grown up about this, you can fool little children quite easily but as we get older we get wiser.

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Well said Martin

Well said Martin, one positive comment, I guess all the negative responses are from people who work for rival companies and are jealous, perhaps they need to grow up!!!!!

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Trust the government?

I don't know why everybody is so uptight about New Labour abusing their data, Do they think the Tories more trustworthy, less intrusive, less paranoid. After the expenses scandal you would have needed a micrometer to tell who was least trustworthy.

No comrade whoever you vote for the Government always gets in.

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Flame

I will NEVER tell you why I resigned

It's a private matter. And it's a pity we can't financially ruin companies complicit in this Labour Government's insidious schemes.

I will not make any deals. I've resigned. I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed or numbered.

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Is this guy for real?

Mr Sutherland seem to think we're only concerned about humans processing our personal data. We're not. A data-mining algorithm is just as bad, if not worse. If you're running your data-mining tentacles over a database, you're still processing the data in it, you're still - how can I put this? - running fishing expeditions on millions of people.

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Flame

Surely missing the point

Surely the fact that a lot of though has gone into possible analysis of this data is why so many people do not want it collected.

If

he can find a way to guarantee me that future governments will not abuse this data and that it will be retained securely indefinitely

then I will have to -

Leave the country, as it will have become a non-democratic state with no transparency as to the records it it keeping.

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Anonymous Coward

Yawn.

I don't think he gets it. Some points:

1) It doesn't matter how ethically the data is processed, public sector including security services have time and time again proven they cannot keep it secure.

2) There is no such thing as a perfectly accurate data mining algorithm for this sort of task and almost certainly never will be due to the random and chaotic nature of the data. As such the monkeys sifting through the data that has been mined out will be taken as correct and factual, but as the data is really imperfect, innocent people will get harassed and treated like terrorists just because the imperfect algorithms singled them out incorrectly.

Come back to the table with a new argument when your unrealistic utopian view of things has been corrected and when you understand the limitations of what your technology can do and hence base your arguments around this rather than your fantasy of what they should be able to do in your utopia where all human actors working with the data are also infallible.

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Silver badge

Phish Tickling ...... for Great White Shark Hunters

"We should make it as difficult as possible for the security services to build profiles of us all (which I believe is the ultimate aim of IMP)." .... By Anonymous Coward Posted Friday 17th July 2009 12:01 GMT

AC,

If you can be bothered to find the right wherewithall, you could try the exact opposite approach and create for them a persona which they would be interested in. And if they realise they are being groomed that should make them even more interested for then there is added Dynamically Flexibility in what are supposed to be Definitive Profiles. But the Bi and Multi Polar Players are always going to be Works of Art Defying Static Description.

"What does Martin Sutherland actually do?" ... By Anonymous Coward Posted Friday 17th July 2009 12:32 GMT

Ask that of any hot shot to know if they are in the right position.

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Unhappy

Doesn't anyone pay any attention to anything?

The biggest news story of the past month? Tabloid journalists using shady private investigators to hack phone systems, obtain bank statements, phone records, tax details, social security files, and vast amounts of other information on thousands of people. This has revealed, if you didn't know by now, that it's easy for anyone with a bit of money to buy any computer record on any system.

With hundreds of thousands of people having access to big databases, it's hard to do anything about it - maybe Mr Sutherland should be campaigning for much more severe penalties for misuse (selling data, losing data, etc) if he wants us to feel more secure, especially as based on revelations of the past month the police don't seem to care about it. But maybe he'd rather hush it all up.

Until we can prevent this kind of abuse, I really don't want any more databases. To talk about nazis and internment programs comes across as a bit paranoid: the fact that anybody will be able to buy any detail of your life should be a more pressing concern, for politicians and businessmen as much as anyone else.

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This is the present incumbent of the Master Dalek?

Doing some astroturfing ahead of deep budget cuts that will follow the day after the next general election?

I recommend the prospective Chancellor take the easy decision now, on which IT projects to cut immediately, because the economy is indisputably screwed, and the depth of that is such a State Secret that no-one outside the Cabinet is supposed to know the true facts, that it will take a year to determine what to do.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Is this guy for real?

He works for BAE, albeit in a round about manner, that's all you need to know.

I'm a placid forgiving sort of person who likes to look for the good I believe is in everyone but there are no words in the abundant vocabulary of the English language to express the personality of a BAE drone. I think it was due to my nature I managed to last two weeks before literally walking out the door never to return again, I'm sure a less tolerant person would have left after one day.

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