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Ben Laurie blathering

8 Jul 2009

ID Cards: Catch 22?

Filed under: Civil Liberties — Ben @ 10:29

Apparently, ID cards will not be compulsory after all. Also…

Mr Johnson even admitted the suggestion the cards would help combat terrorism was exaggerated as he accepted the Government should never have allowed “the perception to go around that they were a panacea for terrorism”.

No, really? Anyway, the thing that amuses me is this

It will remain compulsory for foreign nationals staying the UK long term to have an ID cards but Britons will only have one now if they request it.

OK, so when I get stopped in the street, how do I prove that I am not a foreign national staying long term?

7 Jul 2009

More Security Pie In The Sky

Filed under: Open Source,Security — Ben @ 12:39

The Institute for Public Policy Research have a report called “A national security strategy for the UK”. They want money for it, though, so you might prefer the executive summary, even if you aren’t an executive.

Recommendation 60: The Government should also approach the European Commission and the incoming Swedish Presidency to sponsor a programme for the creation of a range of secure and reliable standard software modules (such as simple operating systems, database management systems and graphical user interfaces). These modules should be developed using formal methods and be made available free of charge through an open source licence to encourage their widespread use.

I’m with them on a range of secure and reliable standard software modules. I’m with them on the free/open source front. I’m even mostly with them on their example modules, though I would say that a secure GUI is less of a software engineering problem and more of an HCI problem. But formal methods? We have essentially zero examples of useful systems that have been shown to be secure using formal methods, so why make this recommendation? Are these things written entirely by people looking for funding? Clearly they’re not written by people who want to solve the problem, or they’d make suggestions that might actually lead to a solution.

6 Jul 2009

Phormlessness

Filed under: Privacy — Ben @ 12:10

BT have canned Phorm. I don’t really have anything to add to that, except … yay!

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