Rupert Goodwins' diary

Monday 09/04/2001I love the smell of a potential Government IT cock-up in the morning, and here's one with the potential to be enormous. And it all started so sensibly...

Monday
09/04/2001 I love the smell of a potential Government IT cock-up in the morning, and here's one with the potential to be enormous. And it all started so sensibly... You may have already been the victim of the over-reaching security bod, the so-called Little Hitler syndrome. Anyone who's been wheel-clamped the microsecond they turn their back on their car, been brusquely bundled away from a club by a gorilla in a DJ or been relieved of one too many items on the way into a festival will wholeheartedly agree with the idea that some form of legal controls on those sort of people is a good idea. Tony agrees, and thus a bill is born to licence the private security industry. So far, so good. Then someone noticed that by the bill's definitions, anyone who does computer security also falls under the remit... and the idea that only the state-approved can do IT security consultancy is too worrisome for words. Where would it stop? Companies selling firewall products, journalists writing about how to set passwords on Winzip archives, even websites holding FAQs about safe password policies would potentially fall foul of all this -- although, of course, only those resident in the UK. It may turn into one of those impossible to implement bits of legislation that never makes it onto the books, but it's still noisome that our glorious leaders continue to be so spectacularly clueless about information technology this far into the 21st century.

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