Infosecurity starts today, and it will doubtless be the biggest, busiest and boldest conference yet. So why am I feeling rather underwhelmed at the prospect?
A friend’s application for an angling license
reveals may reveal that the Environment Agency is either sloppy with its personal data or is deliberately obfuscating its privacy policies. If government is to build trust in its management of personal information, then these ‘small incidents’ must come to an end.
[Editor’s update: 30 April – Please see comments below for the Environment Agency’s response and note that this entry has now been amended as indicated with strikethrough / italics.]
I’m going to draw a line under my Phorm commentary. They’ve opened up their plans to a privacy expert, held a public meeting, and hired a Chief Privacy Officer. This article outlines my feelings on the subject. So, time to declare closed season on Phorm and give them a chance to get it right.
As one of the unfortunate millions who has to commute, I use my laptop on the train, and sometimes don’t want the person next to me looking at what’s on the screen. To date, I’ve used an excellent 3M Privacy Filter, but thanks to the folks at Engadget for pointing out this fantastically practical fusion of clothing and privacy filter. I’m looking forward to getting one already.
High-profile online advertising service Phorm is holding an open meeting with its supporters and critics this evening. The meeting will be chaired by Dr Ian Brown, and speakers include Simon Davies, Dr Richard Clayton and Kent Ertegrul, CEO of Phorm.
A meeting of this type is unprecedented: Phorm are taking the stage with critics and supporters alike, and the CEO and CTO will be open to questions from the audience. If you have a criticism of, or interest in, Phorm then you need to be there. It’s an open meeting, so anyone can attend. Location details, timings and registration are available here.
Tony reports that the board of HM Revenue & Customs has been suspended following an external review of last November’s loss of child benefit data. Since the incident, three non-exec directors have stepped down, one has resigned and another has moved to a new job. The Chancellor’s public statement on the incident and subsequent resignation of HMRC’s acting chairman were widely reported. The board will be replaced with an Executive and Advisers Committee pending a reorganisation.
Whilst the incident itself should of course never have been allowed to happen, the subsequent transparency and accountability is very welcome indeed. Finally we see senior executives held to account for privacy breaches. Not so long before, senior civil servants would have been able to shrug off such an incident and blame it on the system / a junior clerk / external suppliers / flawed systems inherited from the previous government* [delete as appropriate]. Hopefully this will put an end to such attitudes, and executives across the public and private sectors will follow HMRC’s example by taking privacy seriously.
Anyone with an interest in the history of cryptography and codebreaking will want to listen to last week’s edition of The Reunion on BBC Radio 4, in which a team of Bletchley Park employees reminisce about their work and its contribution to the war effort.
The past few days have seen the emergence of a new attack group – phish fingers. After the Chaos Computer Club published a fingerprint of a German minister, there’s a reward out for fingerprints from the UK Prime Minister and Home Secretary.
Online advertising company Phorm has responded to its critics’ demands by allowing an inspection of its plans by a respected security expert. Unfortunately, he doesn’t like what he’s seen.