08 October 2008

Oh Irony, Thy Name is Labour

How does the Labour government manage to do it? Just as they let out a few sly leaks about their super-duper cure-everything Interception Modernisation Programme - basically the ultimate in data mining for info against those terribly naughty bad chaps, all for a measly £12 billion because, you know, we're rolling in it, right? - we have, with stunning timing, the following:

The most extensive government report to date on whether terrorists can be identified through data mining has yielded an important conclusion: It doesn't really work.

A National Research Council report, years in the making and scheduled to be released Tuesday, concludes that automated identification of terrorists through data mining or any other mechanism "is neither feasible as an objective nor desirable as a goal of technology development efforts." Inevitable false positives will result in "ordinary, law-abiding citizens and businesses" being incorrectly flagged as suspects.

The whopping 352-page report, called "Protecting Individual Privacy in the Struggle Against Terrorists," amounts to at least a partial repudiation of the Defense Department's controversial data-mining program called Total Information Awareness, which was limited by Congress in 2003.

Let's hope the Nu Poodles ares sufficiently sycophantic to pay attention to what their lords and master in the US say, even if they won't listen to the pleadings from the serfs they rule.

And talking of IT screw-ups from Labour, here's a very timely post from that one-man investigative marvel, Tony Collins:

All governments have unsung IT successes and large failures. But New Labour has had more big government IT-based calamities on general exhibit than any government we can remember, despite earnest attempts to learn lessons.

The Party's record was summed up in November 2004 by the National Audit Office, whose reports are always carefully-worded. It said, "The government has a poor record on delivering successful large IT-based projects and programmes." That perception remains today.

He has this perceptive analysis of why Labour has gone data-mad:

Building a bridge from the US to England may seem a good idea in theory but it is not practical. Yet ministers embarked on the technological equivalent with the NHS's £12.7bn National Programme for IT because nobody they would want to listen to told them it was fanciful.

One reason so many large public sector projects fail is that executives from some IT suppliers regularly propose to government unrealistic but ostensibly credible and beneficial solutions to problems civil servants did not know existed until suppliers explained what could be achieved with new technology.

The tenacity of some suppliers wears down civil servants. Indeed the centralising, self-aggrandising, and self-expanding instincts of bureaucracies play perfectly into the hands of some IT sales teams who understand the "transformational" agendas of successive governments.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

They are the unemployed and unemployable--a white flag in every briefcase. p