back to article 'Unjustifiably excessive': Not even London cops can follow law with their rubbish gang database

London cops have broken data protection rules by using a controversial database that ranks people's likelihood of gang-related violence but fails to distinguish between victims and perps, and low and high-risk people. The UK's data protection watchdog today reported there had been "multiple and serious" breaches in the use of …

Silver badge

Constable Savage

Has been promoted ....

24
0
Silver badge

Re: Constable Savage

@YAAC

With no less than 55 ludicrous trumped up charges against Mr Kodogo alone,....

11
1
Anonymous Coward

Re: Constable Savage

... Treading on the Cracks in the Pavement ...

... Urinating in a Public Convenience ...

...

7
0
Silver badge

What I read in my mind was...

The Ms-Access Gangs Violence Matrix was set up on some no-name PCs desktop by the Metropolitan Police in 2012, and was deliberately kept off of the radar for obvious reasons.

12
0
Silver badge
Holmes

Re: The Ms-Access Gangs Violence Matrix

MS Access?? you're giving them far too much credit I'm betting like most users in my experience, they are calling an Excel spreadsheet a database.

19
0
Silver badge
Boffin

Re: The Ms-Access Gangs Violence Matrix

@Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse, @}{amis}{

It's probably a little bit of both. Started life as an Excel doc, then got a bit unwieldy, some bright spark commissioner somewhere suggested something along the lines "can't this be turned into some kind of shared database thingy?", they then imported it into an Access file (probably Access 2003), clunked a simple front end on it, then they copied and pasted it to all their mates.

11
0
Bronze badge

Sometimes it's just the context

In cases like this one it's not just WHAT it says that is sensitive but the fact that you are in the database at all - which may infer an association. So just basic identity information name address etc. would be highly sensitive as it may imply a gang association. So "green" listing people is just as bad. Approaches such as saying oh I will encrypt the sensitive fields doesn't cut it.

Same in healthcare - if your name is in the database for adult mental healthcare and addictions for whatever minor or past reason just the identity management database is serious stuff.

19
0
Silver badge

Re: Sometimes it's just the context

This is what people refer to as metadata when mass surveillance is talked about. Often the sensitive information can be inferred from who you were talking to or where you were without knowing what was said or done.

1
0

Help me out here

When they say 'Gang' is this just a 'database' of mainly black men on the street?

I mean, does it include the often white gangs involved in Drug dealing, Burglary, Fraud, Money Laundering etc..

Does it also include the gangs who like to bombard old people with charity requests, leading to suicide in some cases.

The Pension management fraud gangs? on average victims lose around £91,000

Just trying to get a grip on whether this is THE one true Gang Matrix or really the 'Black Street Gang Matrix'

24
7
Silver badge
Thumb Down

Re: Help me out here

Am I the only one that finds it depressing that this Youtube: Not the nine o'clock news Constable Savage sketch still rings true is as depressing now as it was in the 70s??

8
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Help me out here

> I mean, does it include the often white gangs involved in Drug dealing, Burglary, Fraud, Money Laundering etc..

Presumably

> Does it also include the gangs who like to bombard old people with charity requests, leading to suicide in some cases.

No. Only illegal gangs.

> The Pension management fraud gangs? on average victims lose around £91,000

Ditto.

> Just trying to get a grip on whether this is THE one true Gang Matrix or really the 'Black Street Gang Matrix'

It's a little more complicated than that. Take the Yardies for example, they are a Jamaican gang. Most of their members are young black men, for the simple reason that not many old white women apply to join. The Yardies diversity manager would dearly love to hire some old white women, but there just isn't the talent available.

16
7

Re: Help me out here

There is no gang called “the Yardies” and never has been. Yardie just means a Jamaican, someone from “the Yard” ie home, Jamaica - it was only when the cops started using as a catch-all term for young black men that it came to be a synonym for gangster.

But much of the problem starts with who gets called a gang. I’m exaggerating slightly but you get three white boys who hang around together and they’re lads; you get three black kids who do the same thing and the cops call them a gang and put them on the Gangs Database for further attention and investigation...

20
5
Silver badge

Re: Help me out here

When they say 'Gang' is this just a 'database' of mainly black men on the street?

I realise you are probably be asking the question in an ironic way, but lol no, whilst it is mainly a 'database' of black men on the street it also, presumably, includes people like John Sentamu in its selection criteria because of his history of police contact

1
0

Re: Help me out here

It is mostly black people killing other plack people in London, is it?

0
2
Silver badge

Re: Help me out here

"you get three white boys who hang around together and they’re lads; you get three black kids who do the same thing and the cops call them a gang and put them on the Gangs Database for further attention and investigation..."

Source?

1
1

Re: Help me out here

Just trying to get a grip on whether this is THE one true Gang Matrix or really the 'Black Street Gang Matrix'

Given that it refers to Boroughs having independent versions and diametrically opposing policies on what intelligence goes in, plus widespread copying of data to local storage it seems most likely that this is being parked on someone's PC somewhere rather than being a properly managed central system on a server that MPS has oversight of.

Which adds credence to the idea it's likely just an Access DB somewhere with a front end slapped on or even a hefty Excel file.

1
0
Silver badge

Met Police: 'We welcome the scrutiny'

.. and any suggestion that ICO staff are suddenly having lots more police problems are purely supposition..

13
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Met Police: 'We welcome the scrutiny'

Has anyone checked for a database that ranks members of the police force's likelihood of criminal-related activity ?

8
1
Anonymous Coward

Re: Met Police: 'We welcome the scrutiny'

"Has anyone checked for a database that ranks members of the police force's likelihood of criminal-related activity ?"

A policeman was convicted this week for being a predator on young girls. He apparently joined the force in order to get access to vulnerable girls. At the time of his application he was already a named suspect in other forces' investigations.

It could be suggested that those who take a zealous position on suppressing a particular criminal activity - are likely to have a predilection for that themselves. This has been fictionalised in "Red Dragon" and "Silence of the Lambs". Colloquially acknowledged in the saying "poacher turned gamekeeper" and vice versa.

5
0
Bronze badge

Re: Met Police: 'We welcome the scrutiny'

The major part of their duties are "criminal-related".

The relevant question is are they helping or hindering...

Supposedly Wyatt Earp said something along the lines of it didnt matter which side of the law business you were working, so long as you had a base on the legitimate side..

1
0
Silver badge
Big Brother

Remember - in UK policespeak, no one is ever innocent.

They just haven't been caught yet.

Remember - that is actual Home Office policy.

11
0
Silver badge
Unhappy

What a surprise

The Met, that bastion of civility, honesty and integrity.

Almost forgot /s

4
0
Silver badge

'We welcome the scrutiny'

SO, the database isn't being destroyed because, despite the illegal uses it's put to and it lack of security, it's required for Police work. Have they been banned from using it until it's sorted? No? Thought not. Not even a fine.

2
0

Re: 'We welcome the scrutiny'

That's what I was wondering. Where is the punishment for this illegality? In my opinion, punishment should be more severe for police that break the law.

0
0
TRT
Silver badge

Sounds like the perfect use candidate...

for blockchain.

Then they can refer to it as The Block Chaingang Matrix.

Sorry... The Blockchain Gang Matrix.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

> fails to distinguish between victims and perps,

One suspects a large overlap between the two sets.

1
0

Gang violence victims are often members of a rival gang.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

But not always, they're often just people living in the same neighborhood as gang members. One of the many things the met was being bollocked about was making no distinction between entirely innocent victims of ganag crime, perpetrators of gang crime, or people who are both.

2
0
Anonymous Coward

> making no distinction between

Owing to the despicable tendency of criminals to be economical with the truth, it may well not be possible to make that distinction. Indeed it may not even be a useful distinction, as one imagines being a victim of one gang may encourage previously unassociated people to seek membership of another.

0
0

I imagine this is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to unprotected information that the police and other authoritative bodies have squirrelled away. And by squirrelled away I mean under a desk, in a car etc. Not to mention all the private companies that have tonnes of data going back years. I imagine that when new laws pass or new systems come into existence the old ones aren't cleansed or data migrated properly, they're just hidden away. Out of sight, out of mind.

1
0

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2018