Monthly Archives: January 2008

Parliamentary transparency

I thought that Parliament would provide the model of transparency, but it seems they are reluctant to disclose even who is on the payroll. Given the push for gathering more data about individuals, the identity card scheme and other concerns that have potential impacts on our privacy, surely they should lead by example.

This attitude also highlights the issues with any compulsory gathering of personal information- there will always be those that want or need to be excluded. For example, undercover police would have to be able to create false identities to be able to operate. If the capability to create false data or remove real data exists in the system then this will also somehow be exploited by criminal elements. When you create a system that is considered trusted, people often fail to question the accuracy of that system, creating a potentially greater risk than previously existed as false data would be trusted and the criminal therefore has a better cover.

The availability of a comprehensive data source on individuals is undoubtedly beneficial to law enforcement, however the feeling of privacy for the individual is equally important. I can see the need for privacy in Parliamentary and any organisational activity. If everything were truly transparent, every meeting minuted etc, there is a risk that people will not speak out in meetings for fear of the permanent record they create.

More thought is needed on this subject, but whatever the case we need a consistent example from the groups who are asking us to give up elements of our privacy.

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Watching Cloud computing evolve

A Financial Times article looks at cloud computing (found via lunchoverip) and some of the issues that need to be resolved to move forward. It’s back to the idea of a mainframe, but it had to be broken down to allow it to centralise in a new way. I can’t imagine that we would have progressed to where we are now had we maintained the mainframe attitudes, particularly that they could only be run by those with such deep pockets.

The article also notes some evolutionary stages on the way to cloud computing, such as thin clients and grids, and which still form part of the concept of cloud computing. I still think we have a long way to go with many opportunities along the way. This Jeff Bezos talk on TED should be an inspiration if you think you’ve missed the bandwagon.