Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Trust Me, I'm From the Government

The government, today, released its whitewash (or, as they have it "investigation") report into the Joseph Rowntree Trust's report into the Database State.

Highlights for you:

  • "The methodology underpinning its judgements is opaque and inadequately substantiated" - but somewhat less so than the methodology by which you bunch of bastards committed us to war in Iraq, for example ... Or the Civil Contingencies Act. Or, to take a more recent example, the Digital Economy Bill.
  • We passed a law so it's legal (despite the requirements of HRA98 and the DPA and, since Lisbon, of the absolutely overriding nature of EU law.) - "This has always been the purpose of the Register since the Identity Cards Bill was brought to Parliament in 2005. The Register will hold, as specified under the Identity Cards Act 2006 ..."
  • Passwords - the ultimate in security: "a highly restricted password-protected electronic system, with both server and network access restrictions"
I don't generally agree with the JRRT on poverty, I do generally agree with them on prison reform, and the "Database State" report has an heavy and honest pedigree for its authors and its production. Choose who you believe - a New Labour place-man or this lot:
About the Authors

Ross Anderson chairs the Foundation for Information Policy Research. He is Professor of Security Engineering at Cambridge University, a Fellow of the IET and the IMA, and a pioneer of the economics of information security.

Ian Brown is a senior research fellow at the Oxford Internet Institute, with a PhD in information security. He is a member of the Advisory Council and a former Director of the Foundation for Information Policy Research.

Terri Dowty is Director of Action on Rights for Children. She has many years’ experience in education and children’s human rights. She sits on the Advisory Council of the Foundation for Information Policy Research.

William Heath chairs Open Rights Group and two new start-ups: Mydex CIC and Ctrl-Shift Ltd. He founded the public-sector IT research business Kable, now part of Guardian News & Media. He also sits on the Advisory Council of the Foundation for Information Policy Research.

Philip Inglesant is a postdoctoral researcher at University College London specialising in the human aspects of information systems and e-government.

Angela Sasse is Professor of Human Centred Systems at University College London, specialising in how to design and implement novel technologies that are fit for purpose and that benefit individuals and society. She is also a member of the Advisory Council of the Foundation for Information Policy Research.

Disclaimer - I am a member of FIPR, although not of the eminence to be on their Advisory Council.


Katie Sutton said...


I work for the Open Rights Group, and we're campaigning against the Bill - specifically the clauses which allow for disconnection without fair trial and for the secretary of business to change copyright law without putting it to Parliament first.

We're asking UK citizens to get in touch with their MP and explain to them how unfair this is, and possibly to meet them at one of their surgeries to discuss the specific problematic points of the bill in detail.

We believe that visits and letters from voters will help change the minds of MPs currently for the proposals; our representatives will then see that people care about their rights and, as their duty is to vote in accordance with constituents' opinions, we hope that they will then oppose the Bill.

It's also important at this stage that people talk to Peers from the House of Lords, as the Bill is currently being discussed there before it reaches the Commons - but there is only a few days left to do this.

If you don't know who your MP is, or need help with wording a letter or arranging a meeting with them, drop me an email - - and I'll do my best to find the information you need; all you have to do is the talking.


Katie Sutton

Surreptitious Evil said...

Email sent - hmm, how to get Joyce to listen?

HTTP Error 403: You are not authorised to access the file "\real_name_and_address.html" on this server.

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