Thursday, 22 November 2007

UK's fundamental techno ignorance

Excellent spoof (via: Anorak) and, hilariously funny, but a little too close to the "truth" for the laughter to last long.

Whilst I don't know what the odds / chances are, the fact is that there is some risk that these disks will still end up in the wrong hands.

And, even if the physical disks were found safe, tell me how you guarantee that they have not already been copied and passed along to the criminals?

The UK Govt. is claiming that any losses in case of fraud will be covered, but it's being reported that the banks are saying they won't cover them.

Logic says that the banks couldn't afford to cover the sort of losses that could result from this, if you are in any doubts over whom to believe. Has the Government enough money to cover all of the banks' losses if several million frauds of unknown value were carried out? Not likely, is it?

But, while the Government and the media are skirting round that issue with pansy wording, such as "unusual activity" to indicate "downright theft" from your bank account, they are also leaving totally unsaid, any advice on how to protect your children from the unthinkable.

Perhaps the chance is very small, but it is, nevertheless, possible for kidnappers or pedophiles to be able to find out from those databases; how old your kid is, where you live, what Mummy and Daddy are called - certainly more than enough to appear to not be a stranger.

Unfortunately, I'm not a criminal or a criminal psychologist, so I can't give you specific "creative ideas", but I have capacity of thought enough to know that those records could be put to a lot more uses than "mere" ID theft.

That makes the database disks highly valuable, they have now been "extensively advertised" in the media, which might mean that the crooks are looking harder than the Government, police and the tax authorities together right now. The sad fact, sarcasm aside, is that criminals probably pay better and have better resources available to do so too.

Some comments I've read today (generally those emanating from the reactionary right) are calling for a vote of no confidence in the current UK Government over this latest episode of gross ignorance and incompetence. It is on a scale and magnitude that could not even be imagined in the most surreal and outlandish science fiction story.

Even as left-leaning voter, as a former accountant whose speciality was in setting up computerized systems and controls, my own opinion is that there is no other valid response, because those in charge are clearly not fit to be there. What they do, what they say and the laughably wrong words they use to say it, all show that they do not understand what they need to understand to do the job properly. Not even to delegate.

I suppose that is only my opinion, but somewhat qualified, I think.

The junior breaking the rules story does not add up either.

Rules are "bound" to be ignored or broken (either by malice or mistake) and no system would ever be based upon rules alone. Proper controls that protect everyone should be "idiot proof" and, should have made it impossible for a junior to have that level of access or do that much damage.

If those proper controls were in place, then someone very high up knowingly gave the junior access or is otherwise making a scapegoat of them.

If the proper controls weren't in place, then someone high up is responsible for ignorance / omission, worthy of hanging.

All other reports have to be spin. And all the explanations and lists of what happened when merely complicate matters and confuse.

But are any of the other contenders any better, I wonder?

It was precisely because their total disregard for and / or ignorance of how technology works - that could so easily lead to the exact same type of blunders as this one - that I was not prepared to overlook the spam I am getting from the Green Party. The spam itself is not so much of a problem (well, enough, as dealing with this nuisance is now severely affecting my work and, one assumes, that the quantity may likely increase over the next few months as they head towards an election ...), but what it reveals about their inabilities and what dangers that exposes.

What is needed is a shake up - fully independent - from the top down and it means hiring the right staff, of the right caliber, at the right salary.

That doesn't seem very likely in the UK of today, does it?

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