Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Trade-off between security and sharing

The trade-off between security and sharing was the topic of a lunch time debate yesterday at the Government Computing Exhibition. Speakers were:
  • Sureyya Cansoy, Associate Director, Intellect
  • John Collington, Group Commercial Director, Home Office
  • Toby Stevens, Director, Enterprise Privacy Group
Like the earlier debate, innovation was praised. Suraya Cansoy advised that collecting information across boundaries involved debates about data and security sharing. She had three points:
  1. trust has been broken (statistical proof exists)
  2. recognise the need for action by government and IT industry to restore that broken trust
  3. benefits come from information sharing. e.g, the DVLA can access your passport photo so you don't need to entrust your passport to the vagaries of the post
John Collington talked without notes - impressive. He told the story of data loss last August, when a supplier lost a memory stick, and consequently a contract for £500,000. The Home Office investigated:
  • the required data
  • processes
  • company
  • the person (who lost her job)
He stated that we need a culture change to make people aware of the need to protect data.

Questions came from

This debate itself was interesting, but even more interesting was the chap I sat next to who is heavily against Phorm. Since my students have just had to write an essay on Phorm, it was particularly interesting to hear his views. He runs a web site arguing that the key issue is the immense potential for harm offered by the unfettered interception of web communications.
"If the Royal Mail offered a service which opened letters in order to improve the quality of junk mail, then you would instinctively know it was wrong and appreciate its future risks. Phorm’s offering is no different."
He also offered to keep in touch to help me with my research, so I'm extra pleased.

1 comment:

Robert Saunders said...

I was looking at your blog as a consequence of Angela telling me of your email re PGRs gaining teaching experience (I'm currently the Academic Co-ordinator in the Research School).

Anyway - I see you mention the dreaded Phorm, who keep hanging in there with further injections of money! That's a nice analogy of the Royal Mail.