August 20, 2008

Another day, Another Database

Labour loves databases, they know nothing about them or their limitations but they love them all the same. They cannot get enough of them. Whenever there is problem the solution always seems to be another giant IT project to get farmed out to Crapita with an enormous budget, which they then squander. The latest in this long line of money pyres is to store and track every communication of almost any sort all in one place, so that the single to noise ratio can be brought to as near zero as is practically possible.

There is nothing really new in this. Labour have had a love of snooping and big databases since they first came to power. All ISPs are already obliged to install monitoring equipment (at their own cost) to allow the state to monitor their users, under the RIPA 2000. An act that is already being regularly abused in order for councils to spy on people.

Then there is the NHS Data Spine to collect all of your medical records into one place. So that it cannot be accessed when needed due to the system being constantly overloaded. Possibly a good thing, if they have the same level of security as the single giant database used to misdirect medical training and destroy the careers of young doctors. Not being able to access it could well be the only security measure there is.

Or the soon to be delayed National Identity register to collect all of your personal details into one place. So that they can be lost, stolen, left by a roundabout because they just couldn't be bothered to take it somewhere safe, or otherwise handed over to identity thieves.

Plus, of course, the congestion charge tracking system to monitor your movements throughout London, illegally, which has been proposed to be rolled out so that the state can track everybody's movements where ever they are.

To get around this latest invasion of privacy you could try encrypting everything, piping it all out to a server in a less hostile country (the Unites States for example) via a VPN and using that as a proxy. Except that encryption has been effectively illegal for eight years now since the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 came into force. You have to provide encryption keys to the plod on demand or face a two year prison sentence, and like so much Labour legislation you are guilty of deliberately withholding them until you prove yourself innocent.


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