Wednesday, 25 February 2009

National Security Strategy - implications for UK Intelligence

Its top of the page on the Guardian, so hardly breaking news, but IPPR have released a discussion paper written by Sir David Omand on the above topic. Its available in .pdf from here.

It deals with issues of database intelligence, and how this will alter the model of the intelligence agencies - which frankly, considering what the job of GCHQ is, and what foreign intelligence agencies such as NSA have been doing for years, is somewhat behind the times.

However, he does flag up a set of guidelines for intelligence use. With proper deconstruction of some of the implicit assumptions in these it might be a useful tool. Simply to make the argument that this is what a senior government advisor thinks should limit intrusive surveillance activity and allow us to ask if surveillance actors are even living up to that standard.

Friday, 13 February 2009

Moral Maze - Surveillance Society

Radio 4's Moral Maze programme deals with information, privacy, surveillance and the state.
They did one of these a couple of years back. I wonder if this one will irritate me as much as previously.

People presenting evidence to the panel included Phil Booth of NO2ID, he gives a fairly good account. Although I'm not sure about his reliance on a mantra of choice, although it does highlight the problem that the state can compell in ways that others do not.
Second up is David Aaronivitch, who would like to see everybody contributing their DNA to a national database, because its fairer. He manages to make Michael Portillo seem liberal (liberty is worth a few lives). Also anybody who thinks we're walking in a sleepwalking society, are suffering from some form of paranoia. Also, he can't actually use logic.
Thirdly, Matt Britten, manager of Google UK, which is interesting.
Fourthly is Professor Rosen

Also, Melanie Phillips is an idiot. Why she has anything to do with a programme which is supposed to think about moral or ethical issues, I don't know. She openly rephrases people's arguments, removing all nuance in order to try and make a point. I hate people whose main strategy is 'so what you're saying is...'

Monday, 9 February 2009

comprehensivelyprove you're not a terrorist

Wired Threat level article on a 'white list' for people who routinely get stopped on no-fly lists despite not being terrorists. Whilst I appreciate the difficulty and stress no fly lists cause people, this seems like a backwards way to fix that problem.

also, how does one go about proving the negative?

Friday, 6 February 2009

House of Lords report

The House of Lords constitution committee report on Surveillance: Citizens and the State has been published. It can be accessed here. Wonder if I can get away with reading it this weekend, suspect not, so analysis will have to wait. David Murakami Wood, preeminent surveillance researcher (and my external examiner on the PhD) has already written about it on his blog, which is worth reading.

Comment from the Information Commissioner's Office (.pdf)