Categories
News

Children’s Data in Public Realm

Dilbert Data SecurityNow we are slightly more than half way through 2010. In this year UK mostly government departments have lost significant quantities of data. The security levels of the UK seems to be at atrocious levels. The liberal democrats have initiated a Freedom of Information Request over the data that has gone missing. To the shock of the general public the findings was significant.

Around 200 electronic devices have went missing in just 6 months. Works out as about 0.91 items every single day are lost by Government bodies. This level of loss cannot be accepted. The largest breach of security, perhaps not to anyone’s surprise came from the NHS. Specifically, Yorkhill Children’s Hospital which lost 20 PCs with confidential patient data. Surely with the loss of children’s personal information associated with that, the government needs to consider the issue of data security.

I would recommend that a high level review of all government agencies take place as a matter of urgency. Find out why so much data can go missing in such a short period of time and plug the problem before it gets worse.

I think now is time for the Parliament to realise the danger of the importance of data loss. People of the UK, stand forth and speak to your MP make parliament listen.

References

ITProPortal

Categories
News

Police Departments Closed for Business

Police Car Mini Budget cuts are likely to see the loss of 2,800 police officers in Scotland. Officials at the Parliament in Edinburgh stated that the achievement of 1000 new Officers has been a major success whilst trying to avoid that that means in their time in power they have actually lost 1,800 officers if this plan goes ahead. Despite citing that front line services are a priority. Surely the police are a front line service?

The cuts are on scales that it means the loss of the entire Central, Northen and Tayside Police forces.Having looked at the official statistics, crime does not seem to have dropped at all in the last few years. Indeed with these kind of cuts, it will put the overall Scottish Police at levels well below what it has been in many years.

References
The Scottish Goverment
BBC News

Categories
Politics

Cameron shows his true colours.

David Cameron British Prime Minister

“Benefit fraud and error is the one area of ingrained waste that outranks all others”

The Prime Minister has been in office not even for a year and he’s already bringing in dubious acts and intentions that could seriously undermine confidence in the British Government which already faces problems with confidence after years of Gordon Brown’s unique leadership.

His comments remind me of another politician equally famous for being stupid:

“I just want you to know that, when we talk about war, we’re really talking about peace.”

Former President George W. Bush

There is two issues with his plan of using companies to seek out the benefit fraudsters. Firstly, the fact that they are companies, so any organization stands to earn money by finding benefit cheats through the bounty system. Justice can never be a monetary oriented goal. The moment that happens the strength of the justice system has failed us. Second, protection of personal data – the Data Protection Act.

The ministerial body of which the data protection act is associated with, the Information Commissioner Office has made a statement regarding Cameron’s plans. They have requested a meeting with the welfare officer responsible for the oversight of this plan to answer questions over privacy concerns.

Isn’t it interesting how if we make an error, we are responsible yet if the state makes an error, we’re responsible It seems that now is the time to reconsider how our political system operates. Let us begin with dealing with the cost of political expenses.

We shall look at a honourable member of parliament for our example.

David Cameron Salary: £188,848 (Parliament Research Paper)
Housing Benefits: £21,293.86
Communication Benefit: £65.50
Net Income: £210207.36

Now lets compare that against those horrible benefit cheats:

Joe Blogs Undeclared Minimum Wage Salary: £11563.50 (based on October’s new Minimum wage of £5.93).
Housing Benefit: £5256
Job Seeker’s allowance: £2600
Net Income: £19415.50

Alright, so we can see that David Cameron can pay this benefit cheats annual income with fraudulent benefits out of his own housing benefit and still have change. This cannot be just.With any luck then, perhaps the Government will be the first that faces the wrath of the new credit industry investigating benefit fraud. Until such a time as the government can prove itself worthy of policing this level MP Benefit Cheatsof personal data it is essential that the Information Commissioner finds in the favour of the right to privacy of information of the people as it could be a very slippery slope to slide down once we start hunting for evidence of potential benefit frauds by organizations who has it in their best interest to find guilty parties as that is how they will be getting paid.

Perhaps then instead of targeting the money that people use to survive the daily commute to work David Cameron should concentrate on bosting financial aid. Increase benfits, or increase Minimum Wage.

Efforts should be made to bring down the cost of living in the UK or increase the financial security of the average person. Incidentally, MPs as a whole occur the tax payer a £40Million bill, people like those listed to the left, cost a hefty amount more.

Can you belive that some of these benefit fraudsters dont even have a second home? (or third and fourth in the case of our prime minister).

TheyWorkForYou.com rate David Cameron’s cost to the tax payer beyond his salary at £152,179.

References
Caledonian Comment
The Express
The Express 2
The Mail Online
TheyWorkForYou.com

Categories
Technology

Germany bans iPhone and Blackberry

The German government should be praised for taking the unusual step to secure its network. In contrast with the UK where government facilities seem to be losing confidential data left right and center.

In essence the Germans have placed a ban on government use of the two major smart phone types the iPhone and Blackberry. The blackberry technology routes data  for research purposes and logs it in different data centers. This should be a raise of concern for anyone in a responsibility for network security role.

References
The Inquirer

Categories
Technology

UK Goverment: Its ok to be 9 years old.

UK GovermentOnce Again, the British Goverment is behind the times. In defience of the Internet, they will not follow the suit of technologically advanced civilizations such as the Germans and French by throwing Microsoft Internet Explorer Version 6.0 out of the window. The browser that came out at the start of the century is in software terms considered to be ancient.

This comes as a blow to both the Microsoft anti IE6 people and the Tech world where people are also against IE6. As a developer I am well aware that getting a site to look right in a ancient browser is no easy task. Indeed I’ve spent many hours fighting just to get sites working right on more modern browsers. Especially given the current client’s inistance on cross platform cross browser to the pixel perfection (Mac, Linux and Windows on MSIE 7,8, Firefox, Chrome, Opera, Safari where availible).

The Goverment states they take information security seriously. Wait a minute, do you remember this:

“Two computer discs holding the personal details of all families in the UK with a child under 16 have gone missing. ”

HMRC

Or this:

“The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has admitted that it has lost 340 laptops in the past two years with less than half having encrypted data.”

Ministry of Defense

Hope you didnt forget this:

“Ruth Kelly, the Transport Secretary, admitted that the details of three million learner drivers had gone missing when a hard drive was lost in Iowa.”

Department of Transport

On a related matter, what does a hard drive of learner drivers need to be in Iowa in the first place for.

So, what were we saying?

Ah yes, the British Goverment due to the worry of security wont upgrade from the ancient Browser that everyone in civilized worlds is against. Perhaps its time to start taking personal data security seriously by starting with an upgrade of software. If testing goverment services for complience with modern browsers then surely the savings associated with security by not allowing data to go missing benefits us all.

References
HM Goverment
ComputerWorld
ComputerWorld
BBC News
SC Magazine
The Telegraph