The car park of security
Readers are reminded that
and, what's more,
202 posts • joined 19 Jun 2009
Readers are reminded that
and, what's more,
"Kids today", even "phone bloggers", don't pay to lobby the government. Businesses do.
Living under surveillance causes psychiatric disorders. We know that but it has no traction with the unconverted.
You get political traction when you lobby government, as businesses do, and with them it's not so much privacy that they need as confidentiality. The secrecy they need when they have a new product coming to market or when they're planning a takeover is generally regarded as legitimate in a way that lying to an insurance company about HIV, to take Andrew's example, is not.
To get political traction on the downside of surveillance, may I suggest, the argument needs to move from personal privacy to commercial confidentiality.
NSA pays £100m in secret funding for GCHQ, the Guardian told us in August 2013.
Money is changing hands.
Surveillance costs money and that money has to come from somewhere.
While the security services are surveilling all and sundry that must include businesses, not just phone bloggers. The security services must come across not just personal but commercial confidences, e.g. the takeover by Berkshire Hathaway of Heinz, please see Heinz bought by Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway for $28bn: "Shares in Heinz soared nearly 20% in New York to hit the $72.50 price being offered".
Armed with their advance knowledge, the security services could have secretly bought £100 million-worth of Heinz and tucked a £20 million profit into the budget a few days later.
That wouldn't go down well with Berkshire Hathaway or any of the other rich-as-Croesus enterprises who spend a fortune on political lobbying. That's where to get the traction.
And if the result is secure-ish email for businesses then individuals as well will get secure-ish email.
French authorities want fingerprint and facial scans of everyone entering or leaving the EU.
Why would they want that?
We know that it can't be for border security – mass consumer flat print fingerprinting and face recognition are flaky technologies far too unreliable to secure any border.
France is home to the biometrics company Morpho (previously Sagem Sécurité). Never mind the fact that the technology is useless, if the EU wants to record and store the biometrics of several hundred million residents and travellers the effect on Morpho's turnover would be agréable.
Why wouldn't they want that?
“Symantec believes that the recent ruling will create considerable disruption and uncertainty for those companies that have relied solely on safe harbor as a means of transferring data to the United States.”
Who are these "companies that have relied solely on safe harbor"?
Take for example Eventbrite, the San Francisco-based event organiser incorporated in Delaware:
On 19 October, Minister for the Cabinet Office Matt Hancock will host the UK’s first ever Job Hack as part of the government’s commitment to ending long-term youth unemployment.So there's Mr Hancock inviting young hopefuls to a jobhack and telling them to register through Eventbrite, who tell us on their website that:
The event will bring together a diverse group of talented and creative people who will work collaboratively to come up with solutions using data.
We are looking for developers and designers to come and join us on the day. If you are interested in taking part, register and tell us a bit about yourself.
13.1 Servers.It always was daft for the Government Digital Service and others in the UK to use Eventbrite for their boondoggles. Now the European Court of Justice say that it's not just daft, the European Commission were flat wrong to say that the harbour is safe.
13.2 Safe Harbor Frameworks.
We participate in the US-EU & US-Swiss Safe Harbor Frameworks covering Personal Data gathered in the European Union member countries and Switzerland. Our participation means that we self certify that we adhere to the Safe Harbor principles of notice, choice, onward transfer, security, integrity, access and enforcement with respect to such personal information. For more information about these frameworks and our participation in them, please visit the US Department of Commerce’s Safe Harbor website at http://www.export.gov/safeharbor/.
... if this starts costing real profits in the US then ...
See New York Times, 21 March 2014, for example:
“It’s clear to every single tech company that this is affecting their bottom line,” said Daniel Castro, a senior analyst at the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, who predicted that the United States cloud computing industry could lose $35 billion by 2016.
Forrester Research, a technology research firm, said the losses could be as high as $180 billion, or 25 percent of industry revenue, based on the size of the cloud computing, web hosting and outsourcing markets and the worst case for damages.
We'll have to find out from Mr Worstall at the Weekend what a " debt per GDP ratio" is before anyone can answer your question.
The Economist used to tell me that the Japanese are very keen savers, their problem is the reverse of debt, they won't spend (apart from recently buying the FT) and when economic growth stopped that led to deflation which made them even less inclined to spend which shrank the economy further and every political attempt to reverse that unhappy spiral has failed.
Meanwhile, back to the My Number card. My Number system raises red flags in Japan ahead of notice release in the Asia Times highly recommended – a master class in bathos:
• The Japanese government is "determined to accurately explain the merits of the system".
• "The issue of how children are to use the cards is another matter to consider".
• "It is also unclear whether all the terminals necessary to scan My Number information will have been installed in retailers in time for the start of the system ... Moreover, who is to pay for the machines’ installation has yet to be decided".
• "It also seems likely that the cards will be difficult to use at food vendors or for services such as take-out delivery".
• "That said, the system is not without its merits ... Receiving natural-disaster relief will also become smoother ...".
When I was young we all used to believe that our politicians and public administrators here in the UK were incompetent. The death of GOV.UK Verify RIP suggests that there is no reason to change that belief.
We also used to believe that the politicians and public administrators in other countries were better than ours. We were jealous of them.
Looking at this Japanese My Number initiative, for example, and the Indian Aadhaar disaster and Estonia, that jealousy was, in retrospect, entirely wasted.
It’s all reminiscent of the early days of Cray in the 1970s and 1980s, when Cray’s eponymously named systems were for friends and Cold War allies only. Supercomputers were on a list of technologies whose export to foreign powers was tightly controlled by Washington DC ... In the mid-1980s, the CIA reckoned (PDF) that the purchase of a single Cray-1 could have doubled the total scientific computing power available to their ideological enemies in the USSR.
I remember newspaper reports of a Control Data machine being sold to the Russians. They didn't have any dollars to pay for it with. They bartered for it with ... Christmas cards, presumably quite a lot of them.
Can't find a link in any of the comics I used to read – Computer Weekly, Computing, Stop Press – but Google turns up this link, which includes Pepsi-Cola's sale of concentrate to Hungary in return for film distribution rights, but not the sale of ditto my friend C_________ did for dried onion soup.
The T-Mobile hack is just as much a UK story as a US one. Experian is a FTSE-100 company. They oil the wheels of commerce and of marketing, including political marketing. They are also an appointed "identity provider" for the UK government's identity assurance programme, GOV.UK Verify (RIP): "When you’re using digital services, you need to be sure that your privacy is being protected and your data is secure".
GOV.UK Verify (RIP) is run by the Government Digital Service (GDS), who have so far remained silent about the T-Mobile hack and every other problem that the programme faces. Where is their head? In the sand.
GDS are more outspoken when trying to sell the putative virtues of GOV.UK Verify (RIP) to entrepreneurs, their argument being that sharing our personal data with all and sundry via GOV.UK Verify (RIP) will cause the UK economy to grow.
Unlike GDS, the venture capitalists who back entrepreneurs cannot afford to have their head in the sand. They will have noticed T-Mobile even if GDS haven't and their cheque books will by now be firmly locked in their desks. GOV.UK Verify RIP.
Reproved, that's me.
... there's always Martha-now-Lady Lane Fox's promising cluster, DOT EVERYONE ("making Britain brilliant at the Internet"):
DOT EVERYONE must help us navigate the multiple ethical and moral issues that the internet is presenting and will continue to present.Navigators, boatswains, mainbrace-splicers, ..., I can't see a crew of less than 500 being needed.
We haven't heard much about DOT EVERYONE since it was announced at this year's Dimbleby Lecture. We can only hope that the Chinese and the Russians haven't already digitally stolen its valuable IP.
ElReg: The new National Encryption Policy [PDF] proposed by the nation's Department of Electronics and Information Technology states that ...
Let the Department of Electronics and Information Technology = The Deity.
The Deity wants state-controlled encryption, as ElReg tell us.
But that's not all.
India Today: New Delhi, Sep 18 (PTI) The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), which issues Aadhaar cards [= ID cards], has been shifted to the administrative control of the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology from Niti Aayog [new name for the Planning Commission].
And which Department has the Ministry put UIDAI into?
"Infectious"? Bit worrying for Oz healthworkers.
Did he "flee" or was he "transported"?
... but you may also enjoy Nick Cohen's contribution today, 74 years after the Orwell essay quoted:
We have a politician at the forefront of one of Europe’s great parties telling Poles that their country has no right to defend itself against an expansionist Russia. The man I suppose I now have to call the leader of the British Left is defending a classically reactionary power. Those who have kept their eyes open won’t be shocked. Opposition to the West is the first, last and only foreign policy priority of many on the Left. It accounts for its disorientating alliances with movements any 20th-century socialist would have no trouble in labelling as extreme right-wing.
Not just Corbyn and his supporters but much of the liberal Left announce their political correctness and seize on the smallest sexist or racist “gaffe” of their opponents. Without pausing for breath, they move on to defend radical Islamist movements which believe in the subjugation of women and the murder of homosexuals. They will denounce the anti-Semitism of white neo-Nazis, but justify Islamist anti-Semites who actually murder Jews in Copenhagen and Paris. In a telling vignette ...
... back in 1941:
The mentality of the English left-wing intelligentsia can be studied in half a dozen weekly and monthly papers. The immediately striking thing about all these papers is their generally negative, querulous attitude, their complete lack at all times of any constructive suggestion. There is little in them except the irresponsible carping of people who have never been and never expect to be in a position of power. Another marked characteristic is the emotional shallowness of people who live in a world of ideas and have little contact with physical reality. Many intellectuals of the Left were flabbily pacifist up to 1935, shrieked for war against Germany in the years 1935-9, and then promptly cooled off when the war started. It is broadly though not precisely true that the people who were most ‘anti-Fascist’ during the Spanish Civil War are most defeatist now. And underlying this is the really important fact about so many of the English intelligentsia – their severance from the common culture of the country.
In intention, at any rate, the English intelligentsia are Europeanized. They take their cookery from Paris and their opinions from Moscow. In the general patriotism of the country they form a sort of island of dissident thought. England is perhaps the only great country whose intellectuals are ashamed of their own nationality. In left-wing circles it is always felt that there is something slightly disgraceful in being an Englishman and that it is a duty to snigger at every English institution, from horse racing to suet puddings. It is a strange fact, but it is unquestionably true that almost any English intellectual would feel more ashamed of standing to attention during ‘God save the King’ than of stealing from a poor box ...
What was that, Woody Allen said? Oh yes:
“It reminds me of that old joke – you know, a guy walks into a psychiatrist's office and says, hey doc, my brother's crazy! He thinks he's a chicken. Then the doc says, why don't you turn him in? Then the guy says, I would but I need the eggs.
The House of Commons Science and Technology Committee conducted an inquiry into biometrics.
Don't tell the Australians, they might think the government is wasting their money or taking the mick, but some of the testimony heard by the Committee was a little adverse.
This, for example:
From the viewpoint of conventional science, the forensic identification sciences are contenders for being the shoddiest science offered to the courts. After being in business for nearly a century, they still have developed little that would be recognised as a scientific foundation and, consequently, have little basic science to apply to their operational activities.
The judicial setting increasingly demands a robustness that will satisfy legal admissibility testing and there is strong evidence to support the growing concern that most current biometrics fail to have a sufficiently robust research foundation to reach a meaningful admissibility threshold.
Many current biometric methods receive only minimal scientific grounding and the rigour of testing can often be inadequate, making the degree of reliability and confidence in the biometric open to significant and justified challenge. As a consequence the results of the interpretation of biometric data derived from analysis, as well as the analysis itself, can be called into question by both the user and the assessor thereby generating distrust and suspicion ... We need more science in biometrics.
It would be extraordinarily useful if today's mass consumer biometrics technology worked. So useful, in fact, that the mere fact that it doesn't is overlooked.
You say: Mark Delaney, HMRC chief digital and information officer, claimed it will run a "mixed model of both internal and external delivery using multiple partners".
Do you perhaps intend Mark Dearnley?
Assuming that you do, readers should know that his strategy is for HMRC to agree with GDS*.
That's not the only difference between HMRC and DEFRA. DEFRA is tiny compared to HMRC, which accounts for over 70% of central government transaction volumes (if you believe GDS dashboard statistics) – HMRC IT is central government IT.
Let's hope that Mr Dearnley has a few better ideas. He may otherwise be well advised to change his name to Delaney.
* Shocking thought, but anyone who can't be bothered to read HMRC's strategy can see a digest here.
Some of the rural payments problems are put down to the users. Too old, not computer-literate, these farmers, and they live in the countryside, where broadband speeds are low.
That seems fair.
Others are laid at the door of Kainos, who provided the graphics software for mapping. And which prize did they win at Digital Leaders 100 yesterday? Industry Digital Leader of the Year.
I go weekly now. I go to the meeting of the Common Agricultural Policy Reform Group. It's the RPA. It's the Rural Payments Agency.
Why I'm so excited about that is because they've embraced agile completely. They're going with an agile build out of a whole new programme. That's going to affect everyone in this country, and how they deal with land management, all the farmers, all the people who deal with crops, all the data. It's going to create, I think, a data industry around some of that data.
It's going to help us deal with Europe in a different way, and quite rightly we're building it as a platform. It's going to be another example of government as a platform.
I'm on the Board, and I'm trying to help them every week, and GDS will be working very closely with them to deliver that.
... so we are told, when they stubbed their toe it would be a week before the signal reached their brain and they experienced pain.
20 December 2002, you will remember, as if it were only yesterday, is when the BBC reported Phone firms 'flooded' by crime checks:
Almost half a million inquiries are made to the firms every year by police and customs officers, the BBC has learned.
That's about one inquiry per minute. 14½ years later, the "worrywarts" have got the number wrong and they've forgotten about HMRC.
Not all the dinosaurs were wiped out when that comet landed in the Gulf of Mexico.
You will find the business case set out with admirable clarity by Mark Thompson, a public services consultant, in What is government as a platform and how do we achieve it?.
It all depends on the location of the digital profile of Payments on the Certainty-Ubiquity surface.
Providing a single pan-government Payments platform will unleash "unprecedented innovation, efficiency, and savings":
There are lots of discussion going on at the moment about digital “platforms”, and the impact they might have on UK public services. A rough and ready calculation suggests such an approach could save the UK £35bn each year – but the jury is still out on how best to go about making it happen.
G-Cloud sales figures are always quoted from inception. They are the total turnover since 1 April 2012, when G-Cloud opened for business over three years ago. £431 million may sound quite good if you think that's sales to date this year. But it's actually the value of public sector sales in 37 months.
... Nate was hatched from an egg at the Sea Life Centre in Weymouth, England, then moved to a tank at one of the chain's centres at Oberhausen in Germany. His name derives from the title of a poem by the German children's writer Boy Lornsen: Der Tintenfisch Nate Silver.
According to Sea Life's entertainment director, Daniel Fey, Nate demonstrated intelligence early in life: "There was something about the way he looked at our visitors when they came close to the tank. It was so unusual, so we tried to find out what his special talents were."
No mention of the Scottish financial sector? It's huge and it would emigrate within 24 hours of independence. Don't believe that? Take a look at the oil sector. Prices are down, exploration has stopped and extraction and refining are fast grinding to a halt.
The Scots are sensible people. They will not vote for independence.
Which leaves Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon in a more precarious negotiating position than the media suggest. They pretend now to advocate the merits of socialism which have done so much for life expectancy in Glasgow.
Will Salmond and Sturgeon stand on a "next stop Venezuela" ticket?
No. They're too sensible. See above.
They'll do the best they can by their constituents. Which is as it should be. And that's it.
The inescapable DNA of a digitally-enabled public service model is a set of clean, agreed, and common capabilities, distilled and evolved from the currently duplicated and siloed functions, processes, roles and even organisations that exist across government.
Why can't we have more like that in ¿ElReg?
... and WC Fields
Brave man, Andrew, tackling this subject.
Relax, I shall make no original contribution, I promise. I can't.
Roger Scruton can: "... the shared assumption was that rights are liberties. They are there to protect the individual against oppression, and especially oppression wielded by the clergy, the sovereign or the state. Their existence is fundamental to anything that we could call government by consent, and they capture the essence of the political process as we, in the West, have since conceived it – namely as a device for protecting the individual against the group".
Inventing the Individual: The Origins of Western Liberalism by Larry Siedentop – that might help, I can't claim to have read it, but my friend Scott reviewed it.
All very elevated. Back here down on terror firmer, what do we get?
A person is a set of entitlements. Or a set of credentials. Or a fingerprint. Or a mobile phone with a lot of digital certificates and an associated location history. Or, GOV.UK Verify, a person is a credit history.
That, or the Mydex/Ctrl-Shift idea, that a person is a quantified self represented on-line by his or her 100% guaranteed hyper-secure personal data store. That quantified self can have rational decisions made for it by utilitarian apps which process the data in the PDS. Never mind the Enlightenment. Back to the ancient Greeks, when people were pawns in the Titans'/Gods' game of chess.
Just saying ...
The UK has hitherto not been extended access to the SIS II as it is not part of the Schengen free movement area. However, as of April 13 it is now allowed to use the SIS within the context of police and judicial cooperation, though not in relation to external border policy.
Re SIS I: "The UK was given access to sensitive information on criminal and policing matters held on the Schengen Information System, an EU-wide directory, in 2000, but there have been repeated technical problems".
Re SIS II, I was told at a meeting at the Home Office on 23 February 2010 that the UK should be able to use it from 2012.
Raytheon didn't help.
The problems lie in the UK Border Force. Not the EU.
Tim Worstall: She walked away to join a couple of resolutely non-digital boards, signed up for a couple of quangos and that was it. The quangos led to the government tsar bit, which in turn led to the peerage and now has led to... umm, well, a committee to tell people to be digital, I think.
Is it any wonder that we're not creating serial entrepreneurs when that's the preferred career path for those who could be one, to have one success and then aim for the tiara, not the next big thing?
I think you're wrong about British entrepreneurs but that's irrelevant as MLF isn't an entrepreneur, is she. She's a salesman. She's a motivational speaker. But not an entrepreneur.
Take another look at those directors – stuffed to the gills with the usual suspects: G-Cloud, GDS, HMRC and Skyscape, the company with just one director, who owns all the shares – Whitehall SNAFU
Then take a look at the original plans for G-Cloud – efficient, consolidated, centralised, trusted, green: G-Cloud Overview
Remember that Skyscape claim to have picked up 50% of all G-Cloud business – they're no longer an SME: Skyscape – the Surprise as a Service company
What does that add up to?
It's not clear, especially with this latest revelation that the Cabinet Office have taken a 25 percent stake in ARK, but it doesn't add up to central government outsourcing to the private sector, especially SMEs, while taking advantage of the cloud with its mythically low costs (practically free), magically releasing billions to be spent on cakes, bunting and post-it notes for GDS's walls.
No-one who gave evidence to the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee's enquiry into biometrics said that mass consumer biometrics work. No statistics were put forward to measure how reliable this technology is.
Many witnesses went out of their way to say how unreliable mass consumer biometrics are. Not least the police themselves – "the technology is not yet at the maturity where it could be deployed", says Chief Constable Chris Sims at para.95 speaking for the Association of Chief Police Officers about face recognition.
There's no need to be alarmed by the deployment of a technology that doesn't work. It is more appropriate, surely, to mock the deployers, in this case the police, for wasting their time deploying it. You could also be angry that they are wasting their time. And our money. But not alarmed.
Chief Constable Sims is also quoted as saying that he is "not aware of forces using facial image software at the moment". Are we to believe that the police have gone to all the trouble of uploading 12 million+ faces onto their national database but they aren't using them? If so – and that's what the Chief Constable says – then cue more mockery.
Mockery or fury at the waste of time and money and the absence of logic. But not alarm. Alarm suggests that you think the technology works. Even the police don't say that. They say the opposite. It doesn't work. All you do by expressing alarm is to help the salesmen to sell this flaky technology. "Why would all these cowardly children with something to hide be alarmed", the salesmen may ask a prospective credulous customer, "if the technology doesn't work?".
There is plenty of room to be angry at the police for ignoring the High Court for 2 1/2 years. No room for alarm. And otherwise just wall-to-wall mockery at the twits for buying this rubbish and pretending that they are thereby doing something in the interests of crime prevention/detection.
The House of Commons Science and Technology Committee published its report yesterday, Current and future uses of biometric data and technologies.
Drugs companies have to undertake extensive trials before letting their products loose on people and ditto aircraft manufacturers.
But not biometrics systems suppliers (para.54):
When biometric systems are employed by the state in ways that impact upon citizens’ civil liberties, it is imperative that they are accurate and dependable. Rigorous testing and evaluation must therefore be undertaken prior to, and after, deployment, and details of performance levels published. It is highly regrettable that testing of the ‘facial matching technology’ employed by the police does not appear to have occurred prior to the searchable national database of custody photographs going live. While we recognise that testing biometric systems is both technically challenging and expensive, this does not mean it can be neglected.
The deployment of mass consumer biometrics without first establishing that the technology is reliable is not scientific, businesslike or responsible. It is wishful thinking.
It is wishful thinking when it comes to biometrics based on face recognition and on all the other candidate modalities, including flat fingerprints.
The Science and Technology Committee made that point in July 2006. Here they are making it again, nearly nine years later. There has been no progress in between.
One company that will be following the progress of the DATA Act with interest is Experian, the credit referencing agency and data broker which unwittingly sold personal data to a crook for nine months until the US Secret Service told them about it, please see KrebsOnSecurity.
Experian were hauled over the coals by Senator Rockefeller's Committee on Commerce, Science, & Transportation on 18 December 2013. He put them on notice then. And now, good as his word, here's the DATA Act.
So what? Nothing to do with us here in the UK, surely.
But Experian are an "identity provider" to the UK Government Digital Service's Identity Assurance scheme, now officially known as GOV.UK Verify (RIP): "GOV.UK Verify is the new way for you to prove who you are online, so you can use services on GOV.UK safely". It wasn't very safe in the US. How safe is it in the UK?
Collecting personal data and then selling it is the business of all sorts of organisations. Take Verizon, for example.
You probably think of Verizon as a telco. That's not how they think of themselves: "Ultimately, we don’t see ourselves as a data provider; we see ourselves as an ad platform that helps brands and consumers connect".
Verizon, like Experian, are "identity providers" to GOV.UK Verify (RIP). If you use that system via Verizon, are you safely proving on-line that you are who you say you are? Or are you helping Verizon to connect you with brands?
This latest report of ENISA's refers to their earlier one, January 2011, Security & Resilience in Governmental clouds, on p.8 of which they say about cloud compting: "its adoption should be limited to non-sensitive or non critical applications and in the context of a defined strategy for cloud adoption which should include a clear exit strategy".
They can hardly be surprised that many EU governments have, very sensibly, on ENISA's own recommendation, proceeded slowly.
The surprise, as noted by earlier commenters, is that so many EU governments, the UK included, have put sensitive and critical applications in the cloud with no known exit strategy – HMRC, the Home Office, the Ministry of Defence and the Government Digital Service, to name but a few – often with one-man companies like Skyscape.
19 February 2015: GDS says tower model "not in line with government policy"
20 February 2015: Tower approaches in line with GDS policy, departments argue
The standard answers include:
1. National security. You want to be safe? Give us your data. Ref. Communications Data Bill and Edward Snowden.
2. Money. You want to be rich? Give us your data? Ref. Stephan Shakespeare and Nigel Shadbolt, who appear to believe that open data causes innovation.
3. Health. You want to be well? Give us your data. Ref. Tim Kelsey and care.data.
4. Social responsibility. You want to pay your debt to society that provides you with public services? Give us your data. Tim Kelsey and care.data again.
5. Tax justice. You want everyone to pay the tax they owe? Give us your data. Ref. David Gauke and the G8 initiative on tax-dodging, see HSBC passim.
6. Paedophiles. You want to eradicate paedophilia? Give us your data. Ref. David Cameron and Anonymous.
After a while you get the idea that all good things come from open data.
There might be a lingering question whether the government could have access to all data and yet still somehow fail to maintain security, expand the economy, etc ... The Child Support Agency, for example, had unrestricted access to all data on its parishioners and yet still succeeded in multiplying their misery.
"... in the information technology age, a government website really matters" – so said Liz Fisher of the UK Constitutional Law Association on 9 May 2013 at the end of a blog post about GOV.UK, which she found to be flippant.
There was no response to her criticisms from GDS. The party line, laid down on 19 July 2012 was: "Not feeding trolls is the biggest sign of the strength of our culture".
That hasn't changed, 18 February 2015: "Colleagues, not feeding trolls continues to be sound advice".
So much for understanding just how much the government website really matters.
... that we read in the Observer:
Britain's police forces are still unable to use a pan-European database of criminals, prompting warnings that this could hinder their ability to track terror suspects entering Europe ahead of the Olympics.
The UK was given access to sensitive information on criminal and policing matters held on the Schengen Information System, an EU-wide directory, in 2000, but there have been repeated technical problems ...
Experts say the database could form a powerful weapon in the fight against crime and terrorism. In the past, Home Office officials have said that connecting British forces to the system had proved impossible due to technical difficulties and "acts of God", such as a fire that destroyed vital IT equipment.
How time flies.
Faster and faster.
The Guardian reported in July 2007 that:
Interpol said last night that the UK makes just 50 checks a month of the database; France by comparison makes 700,000 checks and Switzerland makes 300,000 ...
Mr Noble [the head of Interpol] said that Gordon Brown's promise last week to share a list of potential terrorists with other countries had yet to materialize. "British citizens might be surprised to find that this watch list announced by your prime minister last week has not been sent to Interpol," he said. "Why is it that some countries make sure passengers do not carry a bottle of spring water on to a plane, yet aren't careful to ensure convicted felons aren't entering their borders with stolen passports?"
And it was just over 10 years ago in December 2004 when the BBC told us that Interpol had complained that passport numbers aren't checked on entry to the UK – Interpol has a database of 5 million stolen passports, the EU has a database of 10 million lost and stolen passports and the UK doesn't check people on entry against either of them.
Border security has been away from the UK on a long eOdyssey. Will it really come home on 13.4.15?
MacGregor told the Beeb last night that there were "grounds for doubts" about the reliability of facial recognition tech.
There's lots of evidence that the technology doesn't work, – http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/08/14/biometric_id_delusion/ – and no evidence that it does.
Not just an invasion of privacy but also a waste of money. The police may want to be seen to be "doing something" but this is a double whammy black eye and not a feather in the cap at all (Catch-22).
Of the five identity providers that have signed a contract with the GDS, only Experian and Dutch identity management firm Digidentity have so far won accreditation.
That's what GDS keep saying but it's not true.
Accreditation is awarded by tScheme.
tScheme's list of approved services for GOV.UK Verify lists Experian only. That's one "identity provider" that has so far won accreditation, and not two.
Digidentity still appear on tScheme's list of registered applicants, along with Mydex, the Post Office and Verizon. They're all in the same boat. The unaccredited boat, not yet certified trustworthy.
These five "identity providers" applied under the old framework for GOV.UK Verify. When the new framework comes in, they'll all have to start again – the new service will start with no certified "identity providers". Or two of them, as GDS will probably say.
ElReg says: "The Tories have steadfastly stuck to its plans to reboot its mothballed Communications Data Bill, colloquially dubbed a Snoopers' Charter, if it returns to government after the General Election in May".
The Daily Telegraph says: "The Prime Minister said that the Security Services would be given the powers to read all messages sent over the internet, if the Conservatives win May’s general election".
Funnily enough, the Communications Data Bill said: "Nothing in these proposals will authorise the interception of the content of a communication. Nor will it require the collection of all internet data, which would be neither feasible, necessary nor proportionate" (please see Introduction, p.2).
Not proportionate. Not necessary. And not even feasible.