Skip to main content

The Fantasy & Reality of 2004


A Wired News feature which collects the 2004 'wish-lists' of well-known experts is a 'must read'. Here are three excerpts.


Simon Davies, director of Privacy International:


"I wish everyone would become more aggressive about protecting their civil liberties in 2004.



"What probably will happen is that government will continue to lie and manipulate in a determined effort to confuse imagery and reality. Government has become a master of deception. It has set out to compromise the fragile freedoms that remain, while at the same time providing agencies with a constantly expanding spectrum of powers. Public officials proclaim their support for individual rights and privacy while silently engineering their demise. I do hope people can learn to become angry about this trend."


George Smith, virus researcher and senior fellow at GlobalSecurity.Org a defense affairs think tank:


"I wish people would treat regular virus frenzies like an IQ test. If you convene a congressional hearing in the aftermath of the next PurplePeopleEater Worm, fly 'experts' across the country to purse their lips and utter noises of concern, spout estimates of economic damages that are the same magnitude as a yearly expenditure to reconstruct Iraq and get angry at a Department of Justice flunky over its inability to hang someone, you flunk.


"What I'd like to see happen once would be for someone to have the nerve to stand up in such a national forum and call the exercise good phlogiston, state the electronic infrastructure's not fixable, that more education will never fix our computer virus 'problem' and that we'll all be back in three months to say the same thing for the rest of you nincompoops.


"But it won't happen -- everyone will continue to pretend they have an IQ of 60."


Robert Ferrell, security researcher and author:


"My 2004 wish is for Bill Gates to call a press conference and announce that, as a result of a visit from the ghosts of disgruntled customers past, present and future, he's hired Ross Anderson to oversee a complete retooling of all Microsoft products with out-of-the-box application security in mind. No new versions of any Microsoft software will be issued until this effort has been completed.


"What undoubtedly will happen is that Bill Gates will allow Steve Ballmer to continue spending way too much time thinking up new ways of embarrassing himself and the company in public with his cheesy 'motivational' hoopla while aggressively avoiding any implementation of actual security engineering best practices beyond the occasional utterance of empty phrases like 'Secure Computing Initiative.' Meanwhile, more Microsoft executives will leave to run various government agencies with the same level of attention to quality they displayed in the private sector."

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Mandate of Heaven

eGov Monitor Version

“Parliament”, said my distinguished friend “has always leaked like a sieve”.

I’m researching the thorny issue of ‘Confidence in Public Sector Computing’ and we were discussing the dangers presented by the Internet. In his opinion, information security is an oxymoron, which has no place being discussed in a Parliament built upon the uninterrupted flow of information of every kind, from the politically sensitive to the most salacious and mundane.

With the threat of war hanging over us, I asked if MPs should be more aware of the risks that surround this new communications medium? More importantly, shouldn’t the same policies and precautions that any business might use to protect itself and its staff, be available to MPs?

What concerns me is that my well-respected friend mostly considers security in terms of guns, gates and guards. He now uses the Internet almost as much as he uses the telephone and the Fax machine and yet the growing collective t…

Mainframe to Mobile

Not one of us has a clue what the world will look like in five years’ time, yet we are all preparing for that future – As  computing power has become embedded in everything from our cars and our telephones to our financial markets, technological complexity has eclipsed our ability to comprehend it’s bigger picture impact on the shape of tomorrow.

Our intuition has been formed by a set of experiences and ideas about how things worked during a time when changes were incremental and somewhat predictable. In March 1953. there were only 53 kilobytes of high-speed RAM on the entire planet.

Today, more than 80 per cent of the value of FTSE 500* firms is ‘now dark matter’: the intangible secret recipe of success; the physical stuff companies own and their wages bill accounts for less than 20 per cent: a reversal of the pattern that once prevailed in the 1970s. Very soon, Everything at scale in this world will be managed by algorithms and data and there’s a need for effective platforms for ma…

Civilisational Data Mining

It’s a new expression I haven’t heard before. ‘Civilisational data mining.’

Let me start by putting it in some context. Every character, you or I have typed into the Google search engine or Facebook over the last decade, means something, to someone or perhaps ‘something,’ if it’s an algorithm.


In May 2014, journalists revealed that the United States National Security Agency, the NSA, was recording and archiving every single cell-phone conversation that took place in the Bahamas. In the process they managed to transform a significant proportion of a society’s day to day interactions into unstructured data; valuable information which can of course be analysed, correlated and transformed for whatever purpose the intelligence agency deems fit.

And today, I read that a GOP-hired data company in the United States has ‘leaked’ personal information, preferences and voting intentions on… wait for it… 198 million US citizens.

Within another decade or so, the cost of sequencing the human genome …