back to article Japanese cyber security minister 'doesn't know what a USB stick is'

In Blighty, we have former home secretary Amber "Necessary Hashtags" Rudd, but shockingly politicians' failure to grasp basic aspects of their brief is not limited to the UK. Which takes us to Japan, where the country's newly appointed deputy minister responsible for cyber security admitted in parliament yesterday that he hasn …

  1. Boohoo4u

    Speechless

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Especially if the speech was on a USB stick.

  3. Dave 126 Silver badge

    I've tried putting a speech on a USB stick. The trick is to use a very fine nibbed permanent marker, and to note down only the key points.

  4. Dan 55 Silver badge
    Joke

    Yep, I'm speechless too. Finally a politician who gets security and knows what airgapping is.

    (I appear to be in the mod queue. Have I been naughty?)

  5. BebopWeBop Silver badge

    the mod queue seems a trifle arbitrary

  6. WolfFan Silver badge
    Gimp

    I noticed that recently.

  7. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

    "the mod queue seems a trifle arbitrary"

    Some articles have been marked for hand-moderated comments, most not, eg this one, which is why your comment went through immediately.

    Articles and users on manual-moderation mode have to wait for someone to be free to clear the queue; certainly I've seen the queue averaging 10-40 posts.

    If you find yourself in the queue, it may be because you posted a correction as a comment, or had a comment recently rejected/removed. That'll put you in the queue for a while.

    C.

  8. eldakka Silver badge

    Re: "the mod queue seems a trifle arbitrary"

    If you find yourself in the queue, it may be because you posted a correction as a comment,

    So if you don't follow the formal whistleblower process and privately inform of errors, you get sent to the sin bin?

  9. JudeKay (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: Re: "the mod queue seems a trifle arbitrary"

    Well, let's put it this way: A friend tells you when there's spinach in your teeth rather than posting a pic on Twitter that you only find out about a day later.

  10. Dan 55 Silver badge

    Re: "the mod queue seems a trifle arbitrary"

    Well, it's not really private. I don't have my own private email set up on my work computer and given the rather stringent social media contract at my place of work I'm not going to use my work e-mail to link myself to a media outlet. Which leaves my phone, but I ain't going to be writing an e-mail at my desk with that either. And I don't think I'm alone in this, so a 'contact us' web form Would Be A Good Thing.

    But I don't think it was the case that I posted a correction so I guess I need to tone down the sarcasm towards our Register overlords.

  11. Dave559

    Re: "the mod queue seems a trifle arbitrary"

    Re: spinach in your teeth

    What, and spoil all our fun? Laughing at particularly egregious errors is a noble British national sport!

    (Of course, honest and completely unamusing typos should always be reported via the Proper Channels, he added, trying to avoid being cast into the wilderness...)

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    is this any different for any other politicians? Do people honestly believe they're appointed to their respective positions because they have knowledge in that field?

    In the UK they appointed a scouser to the department of work and pensions for god sake.

    Disclaimer: Some of us mancs are just as bad before the offence brigade arrive.

  13. Alister Silver badge

    A prime example: Michael Gove.

    He's been, successively, Sec State for Education, Sec State for Justice, Sec State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and now they want to make him Sec State for Brexit.

    I doubt that he has any expertise in any of those diverse subjects.

  14. This post has been deleted by its author

  15. Jay Lenovo
    Trollface

    Sorry, I just manipulate people

    Leaders of large numbers don't need to know all the details, that's for middle management. High ranking folk focus on the big picture.

    A picture so BIG apparently usb sticks, computers, IoT devices are quantum particles, which can't be observed without meddling with the desired result.

  16. Mark 85 Silver badge

    It's not just the UK, AC. It might be easier to list those countries where people are appointed for their knowledge. Or elected even. I think the number is somewhere around zero.

  17. jake Silver badge

    Frankly ...

    ... I don't really expect that Tim Cook is capable of much of anything. He's certainly never demonstrated that he knows how to do anything. ::shrugs::

  18. BebopWeBop Silver badge

    At least Cook appears competent at supply chains. Gove has no redeeming qualities.

  19. BebopWeBop Silver badge

    Re: Frankly ...

    @jake Supply chains shurely?

  20. Terry 6 Silver badge

    I think the tradition of the Civil Service was to wait until someone got good and proficient at their job and then move them to another department, so that they didn't "go native". Which could be good with regulators (where of course they don't have such a mechanism) but useless with a civil service.

    And these days they bring in external "special advisors" who know nothing but believe strongly in something that has impressed the minister.

  21. jake Silver badge

    Re: Frankly ...

    The important supply chains were mostly in place before he got there. Copying the work of others has a long history in business, but it doesn't make one a mover & shaker.

  22. the Jim bloke Bronze badge
    Facepalm

    re:Anonymous Coward is this any different for any other politicians?

    The Australian example of this would be former PM Tony Abbot, with his earlier role -

    as Minister for Women

  23. Youngone Silver badge

    No, it's not just the UK.

    My local MP left school for 7 years in a seminary but never took his vows, then did a law degree so he could work in his parties' policy unit until a safe seat came up.

    As far as I'm concerned the bloke has never actually worked a day in his life.

  24. Korev Silver badge
    Pint

    >In the UK they appointed a scouser to the department of work and pensions for god sake.

    A beer for you fr making me laugh, good Sir -->

  25. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

    I doubt that he has any expertise in any subject[1]

    There - FTFY.

    [1] Other than 'Backstabbing 101'. And even that he wasn't any good at..

  26. CustardGannet
    Joke

    Simile

    It's like putting someone who doesn't have a heart in charge of the health service.

    Oh, wait...

  27. Black Betty

    < subject > for Dummies.

    It's not entirely reasonable to expect any politician to be knowledgeable in the subject for their portfolio prior to appointment, but it should be an absolute requirement that they read up on the basics of the subject once appointed. Enough that they can both understand and instruct their subordinates.

  28. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

    Do people honestly believe they're appointed to their respective positions because they have knowledge in that field?

    I know for a fact they arnt, they have a special procedure to make sure a minister knows nothing of the job he is in, cant be blamed for anything and can be diverted out of the public glare if neccassary.

    Its called "Cabinet Reshuffle"

  29. Kubla Cant

    It's the usual story. No matter who you vote for, they end up giving the job to a politician.

    Politicians: a group of people whose only skill is disagreeing with other politicians.

  30. Semtex451 Silver badge
    Facepalm

    That's nothing

    You should meet our old CIO or better the older head of dept.

    There's desktop engineers still walking about that couldn't tell you what USB stands for.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: That's nothing

    "There's desktop engineers still walking about that couldn't tell you what USB stands for."

    A rose by any other name....

    As long as they understand what "USB" does and appreciate its electrical and physical variations - then not knowing how the TLA is derived is irrelevant. There are many such acronyms that stand by themselves without knowing how someone contrived it from a vaguely relevant set of words.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Acronyms

    Got another acronym for you:

    SNAFU - Some Nipponese A***ole F***ed U*

  33. Alister Silver badge

    Re: That's nothing

    "There's desktop engineers still walking about that couldn't tell you what USB stands for."

    Useful Sticky-in Bit

  34. sambaynham

    Re: That's nothing

    Ha! I'm pinching that, Alister!

  35. jake Silver badge

    Re: That's nothing

    Unix Sticky Bit

    Look it up.

  36. Overcharged Aussie

    Re: That's nothing

    I've had to explain what a memory leak is to more than one government CIO.

    I'm sure one of them did not fully understand, especially when he asked if I had OH&S concerns about the storage of the requisite cleaning equipment around all that electricity in the data centre.

    Sadly this was a true story.

  37. jake Silver badge

    Re: That's nothing

    "OS&H concerns about the storage of the requisite cleaning equipment around all that electricity in the data centre."

    Well, now, hang on a sec. Maybe not OS&H related, but ... In the mid-80s, I was working for a company that built gear to dynamically allocate bandwidth between voice and data.

    Incredibly Big Monster of a company started getting weird bit errors on their global T1 (E1, T3 etc ... ) network. I was assigned to track down the problem after lower level techs couldn't figure it out.

    Going thru' the data, I discovered that once the problem started occurring at any one site, it gradually became worse ... It was never bad enough to actually take down a connection, but network errors ramped up over time.

    Further review showed that the same team of installers had installed the gear at all the sites with the problem.

    I flew out to Boca and discovered that they had installed punch-down blocks in a janitor's closet ... directly over a mop bucket full of ammonia water. Seems it was the only wall space that was unused almost universally in such spaces.

    Blocks relocated and corroded wire replaced, no more bit-errors ...

  38. Korev Silver badge
    Joke

    Re: That's nothing

    Unix Sticky Bit

    Look it up.

    Watch out, you might get chmoded for that

  39. Mystic Megabyte Silver badge

    Re: That's nothing

    Find out here at 0:40 Probably SFW unless your boss is German

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ziVpqh9UXmI

  40. Random Q Hacker

    Re: That's nothing

    While working for a certain large appliance manufacturer, I noticed huge rolls of plastic in the data center. Apparently the datacenter was built at great expense immediately below the dishwasher testing facility. Should a spill occur, the entire unix admin staff were to rush across campus to cover the systems, starting with those most important to the business.

    Someone was paid a lot of money to put that datacenter there, and a lot more for that fancy remediation plan...

  41. csecguy44

    Imagine a world...

    Imagine a world where leaders of a "field" are actually required to have a solid understanding of the stuff they are in charge of...

  42. 33rpm

    Re: Imagine a world...

    This is very common in US GOV and DOD IT management positions.

  43. Anne-Lise Pasch

    Re: Imagine a world...

    But then we wouldn't have a Brexit...

  44. BebopWeBop Silver badge

    Re: Imagine a world...

    @33rpm

    GOV and DOD management positions have people like this - they should teach other government how to do what they do (or possibly not)

  45. eldakka Silver badge

    Re: Imagine a world...

    Imagine a world where leaders of a "field" are actually required to have a solid understanding of the stuff they are in charge of...

    I think even vague knowledge would be a step up from what we seem to have.

  46. Dave 126 Silver badge

    Some exploration of the cultural differences? I've heard that the fax machine was popularised over email in the eighties by Japan, because of the difficulties of creating a Japanese keyboard. I've also heard of the Japanese learning English in order to use a computer. There are also stories of large companies being dependant on one experienced secretary for filing, because files couldn't be ordered alphabetically.

    How much of this is myth?

  47. Z80

    Unicode not showing up until the 90's can't have helped.

    There are established sorting orders in Japanese though - how could they have dictionaries otherwise?. There's gojūon which orders words based on the pronunciation of the word. It literally means 50 sounds but modern Japanese only uses 46 of them. It starts with the 5 vowel sounds a, i, u, e, o then has rows of corresponding sounds (where they exist) in a set order with ka, ki, ku, ke, ko coming next so for example you'd find ao (meaning blue, but also green, but let's not get into that...) shortly before aka (red) in a dictionary sorted this way.

    Kanji can have different readings so they can be sorted into I think as many as 214 groups based on their radical - a common element a group contains, and then they're sorted by increasing number of strokes within their groups.

  48. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

    1 dunno

    2 dunno

    3 unlikely as there is a standard dictionary ordering based on phonetic spelling (A Kat Sat Thinking oN How Many Yakult (are) Rancid for one possible mnemonic)

    I'm still a bit concerned about how many textbooks are still out there telling you that you have to learn the word 電報("telegram")

  49. steviebuk Silver badge

    He actually sounds...

    ...like he's ill memory wise. Not because of the computer stuff but having to be prompted by an aide that "You do know this stuff, we told you earlier". But as the Japanese have always appeared a strike culture and proud, their government probably doesn't want to admit his not fit for the role.

    On the "Today any company president uses a PC", isn't exactly true. Apparently, so he said on a documentary, Warren Buffet doesn't have a PC in his office. He's made his billions just reading the financials of companies in papers and other media before deciding to invest or not.

  50. David Nash Silver badge

    Re: He actually sounds...

    "We sent you the memo" is not the same as "we told you"

    He may not have read the memo.

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