24 June 2006

Openness and Randomness

A wonderful dotty Tory story.

The Conservatives in the European Parliament are worried about the INSPIRE directive. As you may recall, this will allow public access to geospatical data.

Good thing, you might say. Not according to the Euro-Tory Geoffrey Van Orden:

I am very concerned that, in spite of Conservative opposition (not supported by the wider EPP-ED Group), the Parliament has passed amendments that allow for unlimited public access to certain spatial data including oceanographic survey data.

From this it would be possible to identify trends in sea areas that are being surveyed and the timescales involved. Analysis of such information over time could lead to conclusions about naval patrol routes. This has clear implications for the safety of Royal Navy vessels, including the nuclear deterrent force.

So from this we may deduce that naval patrol routes are completely predictable - if they were random, they'd be no problem. But since there are plenty of people who already have access to geospatial mapping data - the Americans,the Russians, the Chinese (presumably) - this also means that they know exactly where Her Majesty's Ships are (including the nuclear deterrent force.)

So, Geoff, rather than complaining about the openness of this geospatial data, wouldn't it be better to campaign for the Royal Navy to introduce a little randomness into its routes?

No comments: