Skip to main content
The East is Red

Life imprisonment for the possession of Internet pornography may seem a little harsh but then the Chinese government has always had a rather jaded view of the Internet and is, I’m told, busily tweaking Red Star Linux, so that the Operating System will automatically report any dangerously subversive search expressions, such as “Pussy” “Protest” or even “Tibet” to the authorities.



That said, the Chinese government, The Home Office and any other organisation engaged in the people’s struggle against pornography and democracy will be pleased to read that MessageLabs have reported that the volume of pornographic images sent as email attachments is showing signs of decline.

Message Labs, who I suspect may one day find itself part of the growing Symantec empire has recorded one pornographic or otherwise inappropriate email for every 4,756 messages sent through its service in the six months from March – August 2004.

In the same period last year, the ratio was one in 1,357 (0.07 per cent) so there is a drop which might be explained by business users, with the exception perhaps of the Department of Work & Pensions, taking a more proactive approach to the concept of corporate governance and the vicarious liability risks presented through the violation of corporate acceptable usage policies.

With companies increasingly worried by compliance in the lead up to new government regulations, swapping dirty postcards with one’s mates at work may increasingly become a thing of the past, in the private sector at least.

For larger companies, having spent the last two years populating the Guardian newspaper’s jobs page with advertisements for diversity officers, - the modern equivalent of a Soviet political officer - the next wave to surf is that of the corporate compliance officer, in order to comply with the new Companies (Audit, Investigations and Community Enterprise) Bill. our UK equivalent of the US's Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which is intended to avoid the kind of auditing scandals witnessed at Shell, Enron and most recently Parmalat.

The introduction of compliance officers, a hybrid, CFO/CTO appointment, will be another move that will cost business money and wrap them in more red tape as they are forced to invest in new processes and technologies to meet the requirements of the Bill. Once again business is pushed further towards the extreme limits of the UK’s liability culture and is presented with the possibility of severe financial penalties if compliance regulations are not properly met.

For many IT companies, this is good news and last week I was asked by one leading industry player what I though the opportunities might be for them in developing a portfolio of services to support the new regulations that will spread across security, disaster recovery, identity, records management, policies and all business processes.

In China they already have a model for compliance which works quite well and as we borrowed RIPA, the Regulation for Investigatory Powers Act, almost word for word from the Russians, I’m wondering whether our new regulations are entirely based on Sarbanes Oxley or have introduced a mild Beijing flavour to suit the Whitehall mandarins.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

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…
A Christmas Tale

It’s pitch blackness in places along the sea wall this evening and I'm momentarily startled by a small dog with orange flashing yuletide antlers along the way. I’m the only person crazy enough to be running and I know the route well enough to negotiate it in the dark, part of my Christmas exercise regime and a good way of relieving stress.

Why stress you might ask. After all, it is Christmas Day.

True but I’ve just spent over two hours assembling the giant Playmobil ‘Pony Farm’ set when most other fathers should be asleep in front of the television.



I was warned that the Playmobil ‘Pirate Ship’ had driven some fathers to drink or suicide and now I understand why. If your eyesight isn’t perfect or if you’ve had a few drinks with your Christmas lunch then it’s a challenge best left until Boxing day but not an option if you happen to have a nine year old daughter who wants it ready to take horses by tea time.

Perhaps I should stick to technology but then, the instruc…

An Ockham of Gatwick

The 13th century theologian and philosopher, William of Ockham, who once lived in his small Surrey village, not so very far from what is today, the wide concrete expanse of Gatwick airport is a frequently referenced source of intellectual reason. His contribution to modern culture was Ockham’s Razor, which cautions us when problem solving, that “The explanation requiring the fewest assumptions is most likely to be correct;” sound advice which constantly proves to be true.

A week further-on since Britain’s second busiest airport was bought to a complete standstill by two or perhaps two hundred different drone sightings, it is perhaps time to revisit William of Ockham’s maxim, rather than be led astray by an increasingly bizarre narrative, one which has led Surrey police up several blind alleys with little or nothing in the way of measurable results.

 Exploring the possibilities with a little help in reasoning from our medieval friar, we appear to have a choice of two different account…