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back to article ISA chairman assures nation: Your data is safe

Fears were growing this week over the safety of ultra-sensitive personal data, as the BBC - in the shape of Jeremy Vine - finally caught up with the new Independent Safeguarding Authority, and quizzed its chairman over their security procedures. On Monday night, Panorama took a close look at the new scheme that went live last …

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Big Brother

Your data IS safe-

as long as you keep it away from the Govenment databases.

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Thumb Up

Fair enough.

Not having seen\heard the interview, I can only go by the article but it seemed like he was acknowledging previous errors and taking peoples concerns seriously. Didn't seem to be any wishy-washy promises or bullshit statements.......or did I miss them?

We'll see how they do in the implementation of it but I think he's made a good start.

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Anonymous Coward

What good start ?

The ISA starts by using police and criminal records bureau data.

It doesn't "do" its own data.

The same data IT (ISA) has is available to both police and crb, since that's where it came FROM.

The difference is that it bases its decisions upon the civil courts levels....PROBABILITY...

A not guilty verdict is irrelevant to the ISA.

Since any data the ISA has is also available to the police and crb, the same level of security will exist.

The difference between the crb checks and the isa checks is that a large proportion of their decisions will be, at least partly, based on rumour and not fact.

Even if data does not leak, a bad decision will destroy the life of the person concerned.

In GB2010 a not guilty verdict does not exist...the only verdicts that are socially acceptable are guilty and got-away-with-it. Not good if you fail an ISA check. That won't look good on your CV.

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Anonymous Coward

Microsoft and Bankers

Microsoft makes an OS the lets software write and change whatever it wants, and hopes that nobody will abuse it. The result was viruses and trojans and millions of hacked zombie computers.

The financial regulators let Bankers take whatever bets they likes with money 38x the money they had, hoping nobody will abuse the system. The result is a broken economy and million out of work.

But THIS TIME IT WILL BE DIFFERENT! Forget RIPA and no fly list, this time, it will work and will be different. Even if it wouldn't work for the single case that it was meant to fix because the man didn't work at the school. Even though the evidence says it is another incompetent POS from a failed leadership.

No, HAVE FAITH! This time it WILL WORK, or my name is not Ed Balls, Labour MP for the Labour safe seat of Normanton.

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Bronze badge

And the interview is...

here:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00qs991/Panorama_Are_You_a_Danger_to_Kids/

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The most telling point for me was

The ISA is all about protecting the "agency" by making sure that those employed/used have been vetted according to the procedure. The database and system is about protecting the bureaucrats from rebuke. "We only followed the system that no right thinking person could have/did objected to" will be the cry.

It is not about making children or the vulnerable safe from people who will do them harm. If it protects the vulnerable then that is, and should, be a bonus. That it has the very obvious and real potential to place massive amounts of sensitive data in the public arena is no concern of the ISA. "Not my job, govna".

Many volunteers - like me - do not see it as an advance in safety of young people and will be withdrawing. I will not have the state define me in this instance.

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WTF?

Bullsh*t

"Information doesn’t leave the building either electronically or in paper form."

So no offsite backups then? That's surely going to end well!

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Gold badge
FAIL

They also claim they've knocked down the numbers affected by 2million

Time will tell if this is any more accurate.

The episode is here.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00qs991/Panorama_Are_You_a_Danger_to_Kids/

I'll note 3 things.

The nationwide database of *all* UK school children has been running for 8 years and is only *now* setting a data retention policy. With enough staff data loss is not only likely, it's inevitable.

Staff at the ISA are the "1st generation" employyees. The agency is in starup mode and is likely to be thinking about data security issues. Wheather or not the future hirees are as well trained (or it'll be a case of "Read that data securtiy manual in the bottom of that cupboard when you get a minute") will depend on how will this becomes ingrained in the corporate culture.

This being the British Civil Service I'll not get my hopes up.

And of course they haven't started collecting really large amounts of information yet, so not that much to loose.

BTW do look at the episode. 1 of the best things was when Panorama talked to the "Childline" charity on how many calls were (from children) were about abuse and how many of them involved people who weren't family or friends (the people this system is meant to check). The numbers were 56000 calls talking about family or friends of the family, and 13 for others.

If these are the *only* people that the ISA catches that would make them £18769230 per suspect.

Money well spent?

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Anonymous Coward

funny

Funny how the figure wasn't investigated at all in the program.

Imagine how much better the money could be spent investing in organisations like childline and social services. Of course I'm sure child line would waste it lobbying for more measures to "protect" children.

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Anonymous Coward

question is

The question that was never asked, would the vettnig system have stopped any of main media grabbers of the last decade (The nursery nurse who was a mother with no record and unlikely a hint of abuse in her history or the Sohem killings.)

Nobody bothers asking that question becouse media types are little more then mouth pieces to the authoritarian and the masses don't want to hear sense anyway they just spurt "if it saves one child" or "I want to know that my child is safe."

Sod your child, talk to it every once and a while and maybe you'll know what's going on in its life. Also teach it it's a child and should shut the hell up when it's on a bus. If you can't look after it, don't have it. Also we still scurt around the real issue that most child abuse is commited by family/close friends so the person most likely to mongle kids wont be covered by the scheme either.

It's just a pile of crap to cover the backs of institions and does absolutely nothing to improve the safety of children, whilst having the added bonus of data hording and a far too high risk of ruining an innocent adults life.

I watched the panaroma show yesterday and it was shite, it didnt' ask anything probing.

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Anonymous Coward

Sadly...

... this is as it should be: No data to lose, nothing to compromise unwitting citizens. However, this will not remain the case, so the risk to everyone near the database, nevermind in it, will increase, in volume and scope both, as time goes by. This has carefully not been addressed in any government people database project. Carry on government.

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FAIL

You know it's bullshit

When they say "We have put in place robust processes..."

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Anonymous Coward

get it quick before they notice...

because gov websites "lose" things people look at. So here are the GUIDANCE NOTES FOR THE BARRING DECISION MAKING PROCESS, direct from the ISA !!

http://www.isa-gov.org.uk/pdf/GuidanceNotesforBarringDecisionMakingProcessweb.pdf

Note that being "barred" from working with CHILDREN is not necessarily barred for working with VULNERABLE ADULTS...

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RW

Risks? No; certainty is the word

...former Information Commissioner Richard Thomas was cautious. He said: "With any large governmental collection of personal information, there are clear and substantial risks that the information may be inaccurate.

"There are risks the information data may be out of date. There are risks the information may be irrelevant. There are risks that it may be compromised or get into the wrong hands, and the larger the database the larger the risk."

What he should be saying: "It is certain that some of the information is inaccurate, out of date, and irrelevant; and that the DB will be compromised, and the data will get into the wrong hands."

And, no, the size of the database doesn't affect the risk. It's more like the number of people who have access, who is looking after the security side of things (if it's a NuLab PC type, insecurity is a given), and so on. Even a database of one record containing one field is at risk if three million people can access it.

This raises the question, what is the ISA going to do about inaccurate, out of date, irrelevant data? How are errors to be corrected? How is stale and irrelevant data to be purged? When the DB is compromised, as it assuredly will be, who is going to be taken to the Tower for decapitation as an irresponsible idiot?

They can't claim ignorance of the "risks" (sc. certainties) now.

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Coat

@RW

"This raises the question, what is the ISA going to do about inaccurate, out of date, irrelevant data? How are errors to be corrected? How is stale and irrelevant data to be purged? When the DB is compromised, as it assuredly will be, who is going to be taken to the Tower for decapitation as an irresponsible idiot?"

Good questions. But as this DB includes "Soft" data the simple bureaucrats approach is to move the inaccurate data into the "soft" catagory.

More to the point as AFAIK the report is confidential and sent to the employer how would you *know* if you had an entry in the soft section (you'd know if you'd been convicted). Of course if they have the wrong details (I've never been to prison, but I bet some other John Smith has) how would you know that?

Mine will be the one with a copy of the "The Trial" in the pocket.

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Anonymous Coward

For what does it profit a man...

The problem with the assembly of experts interviewed by Mr Vine was that - as in almost every interaction between concerned people and government bureaucrats - the playing field is never - can never - be level.

On the one hand, we have people and organisations airing very genuine concerns. Whether they're right or whether they're wrong, their concerns and opinions are at least their own.

On the govt side, we have people who have not the slightest conscience in doing whatever they're told to do, saying whatever they're told to say, and worst of all thinking whatever they're told to think. Such people will never allow their position to be compromised by mere facts. Facts are simply resources to be altered to suit the occasion - but you'll never change their minds, because their minds aren't their own to be changed. They don't so much counter opposite opinions as fail to understand the concept. You only had to listen to the glib assurances of the govt speakers to see that contrary opinions are simply irrelevancies to be dismissed.

This database is one of the nastiest, most shameful ideas ever to come out of a so-called democratic country. But as long as there are parents and other citizens so concerned for their children that they abjectly allow media and govt-generated suspicion to overcome their common sense, we're going to have the Salem Syndrome, which seems to be affecting so many areas of our lives these days.

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Vehicle for prejudice

I do a lot of voluntary work for a group which is often on the receiving end of prejudice from officials of all descriptions. The media and public are not usually the problem. Instead it is jobs worths minding their own back. But then of course jobs worths minding own back is probably the main driver of all this. Far too many politicians use the gutter press to evaluate cost effectiveness.

The ISA is a terrifying development. It provides the perfect vehicle for the prejudiced to use smut, innuendo, suspicion, assumption and surmise to destroy the lives of the blameless. It is going to ratchet up the paranoia amongst health workers, teachers or anyone else requiring these checks, to yet higher levels. "I think X is morally corrupt". "Mr X, clear your desk and don't return until you can prove that you are not".

How many children will it actually save from harm? How many children will it harm, directly and indirectly? I will be surprised if the number of children saved from significant harm will exceed the number of children in families torn apart as a result of unjustified suspicion.

It is yet another reason why I doubt if I will ever return to teaching.

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FAIL

Sir Rog didn't read his own report

From the annual report (http://www.isa.homeoffice.gov.uk/Default.aspx?page=411), page 30

"Information Management

There has been one security incident in respect of information handling in the current year when an email containing confidential data was issued to the incorrect email address. A full investigation was carried out into this incident which concluded that there were no systematic failures in the procedure and that the incident was due to human error. The incident did not result in any risk to safeguarding."

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