Category: Security

Indian techies brought in to fix UK police IT system

A UK politician has asked for a parliamentary debate following the collapse of Avon and Somerset’s police computer system.

Ian Liddell-Grainger, Conservative MP for Bridgwater, told Harriet Harman, holder of the Lord Privy Seal and Labour MP for Camberwell & Peckham, that 30 Indians have been brought into the UK on temporary visas to try fix the problem.

He said: “Given the fact that they need total access to all the records held by Avon and Somerset police to do so and given the world that we live in, could we have time for a debate on the rights and wrongs of bringing in temporary workers in a very high security area?”

Harriet Harman referred Liddell-Grainger to the police authority itself.

She said: “If the hon. Gentleman cannot get a satisfactory answer on that matter from the police authorities in his area, he should raise it directly with the Home Secretary. However, I would hope and expect that proper security measures have been taken.”

Net neutrality shouldn't stop RIAA snooping

A music industry lobby group famous for dragging the elderly, the sick  and the dead into court to face piracy charges wants a law which allows for net neutrality to help it bang more P2P users into jail.

The Recording Industry Association of America said it wants to make sure that when the US government brings in regulations on  Net neutrality it does not stop it sending letters blackmailing students demanding huge amounts of cash for downloading Coldplay and U2 singles.

The RIAA has asked the Federal Communications Commission to “adopt flexible rules” that free Internet service providers to fight copyright theft.

Actually what is saying is that it is fine to throttle the internet for P2P pirates as this will discourage the practice.  Of course if the FCC listened it would through net neutrality out the window.  All an ISP would have to do is claim that any bandwidth throttling it did was to prevent piracy.

According to a copy of comments submitted by the RIAA  the “Open Internet” principles should not protect unlawful content such as pirated songs.

It wants ISPs to adopt a “graduated response” when dealing with illegal file sharing and if it gets its way chronic offenders could lose Internet access.

Ballmer to China: Censor Bing anytime!

Delightfully understated Microsoft CEO Steve “What is the sound of one hand clapping?” Ballmer has shown that his hand is well and truly on the pulse of international sentiment by declaring that his outfit would love to continue trading with China.

While rivals Google are considering pulling out of China so that they can mention the Dalai Lama as being a good bloke without being fined, Ballmer has said to China that it is free to censor his Bing anytime.

Steve Ballmer, Microsoft's CEOBallmer said his company intends to stay in business inside of China and obey the laws of that country even if it does mean turning over the names, addresses and emails of people that China does not think are very nice.  If this results in such people being executed in mobile execution trucks and their organs harvested at least they will never be using a rival search or browser.

After having a quiet lunch with  President Obama on ways the government can use technology to cut costs, Ballmer mimed that he had been quite clear that we are going to operate in China, and he was going to abide by the law.

Perhaps it is for this reason that Microsoft has not had its email system breached by Chinese hackers recently.

New-fangled democracy won't cut it in China

According to Winston Churchill – whose mother was American – democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried.

And while America is the land of the free, and quite a liberty bearer generally, it’s not right to assume that what’s sauce for the US goose is sauce for the Chinese gander.

It’s the most ancient culture in the world, and the only way such a vast country could have been governed is through a centralised bureaucracy that certainly paid no heed to what the Greeks were up to with their curious ideas of democracy.

It’s curious, then, that multinationals like Google, Yahoo and for that matter Microsoft naively believed that because China opened itself up to commerce, a centralised government would just blithely gaze on while an opportunity existed for China’s communist government to exploit source code for its own military and cryptic ends.

But it’s also no surprise that the US government is standing back from the Google affair while it sees how the Chinese government reacts to the search engine’s threat.

Sir Winston ChurchillThat’s because there’s one other foundation on which America is built apart from liberty – and that’s capitalism.  The USA is in debt to the Chinese government to the tune of not short of a trillion dollars – while Google spouts about its security being breached – it’s not in America’s interests to rock the boat too wildly.

China has overweening ambitions and has the resources to put long term plans into action. For most of 2008, I was working in India, which has espoused democracy, and I would hear a familiar complaint from the business people I talked to all the time.

They wished that India wasn’t a democracy so that the essential infrastructure needed to transform the sub-continent into another Asian powerhouse could be pushed ahead without the will of the people getting in the way of the plans.

No doubt it’s a terrible nuisance to have to take into account the wishes of individuals or parties they form when you want to press ahead with plans that are going to put crores of rupees into your pocket.

China’s stance to foreign companies operating in its country is that they have to obey the laws. China is a dictatorship and its laws aren’t created by an indepedent parliament or congress and moderated by an unfettered judiciary. In such circumstances, the normal rules of British fair play and the principles enshrined in the US Constitution just don’t run.

Google, perhaps, should have thought of this before it put time and energy into the marketplace, and not after the fact.