Organisations have been gathering our personal information in remote datacentres for decades. But combine the social web, cloud storage and cheap computing power and it's a whole new ball game.
The Full Tilt
Stilgherrian delivers an undiluted dose of criticism and analysis of the ways digital technology is changing our world and the spin that goes with it.
Stilgherrian is a freelance journalist, commentator and podcaster interested in big-picture internet issues, especially security, cybercrime and hoovering up bulldust. He studied computing science and linguistics before a wide-ranging media career and a stint at running an IT business. He can write iptables firewall rules, set a rabbit trap, clear a jam in an IBM model 026 card punch and mix a mean whiskey sour.
Australia's new information commissioner, Professor John McMillan, faces a massive challenge: persuading traditionally secretive government departments that the new age of Government 2.0 means openness and citizen engagement. How will he go about it?
The Attorney-General's Department is looking into a data retention regime that would require internet service providers (ISPs) to log all of your communications, including the internet protocol (IP) address at each end, the date, time, duration and location. What, exactly, is on their mind? And how did this come about?
The National Broadband Network (NBN) is Australia's biggest-ever infrastructure project, we're told. So you'd think the government could do a better job of selling its benefits than TV advertising containing little more than vague generalities and Communications Minister Stephen Conroy's magic smart dishwasher.
What happens when you monitor the hostile traffic hitting 600 million computers globally, and then get a team of information security analysts to trawl through it? You get a detailed analysis of the world of the botnet, that's what.
If you're giving someone your credit card details, you'd like to think they were being handled securely. But a recent report from Verizon Business has revealed that a mere 22 per cent of organisations surveyed were fully compliant with the relevant security standard, the PCI DSS.
The cloud isn't just about commercial software and enterprise systems. The open-source world has its services too. Linode has been offering virtual Linux servers for years. Now the OpenStack project provides open source, open standards software for building reliable cloud infrastructure.
Two companies have found that when staff work from home they are not only happier, but they're more productive as well. So how can you send your workers home?
The Queensland city of Ipswich has claimed that its CCTV surveillance systems have reduced crime in monitored areas by 75 per cent. But how does the Ipswich case compare to the costly and arguably less effective public safety cameras in the UK?
Accusations of NSW government resources being used to watch porn abounded last week, even ending in one minister's resignation. However, parliament's audit process was deeply flawed.
Allowing staff to choose their own computer and smartphone rather than using the standard company roll-out will, in theory, help attract talented staff rather than corporate droids. But what about the security risks once the IT department loses control?
Last week it was the broadband election. This week it still is. But the future of Australia's national broadband policy and, indeed, the future of the government itself now depends on a handful of independent members in a hung parliament.
High-speed broadband has now become an important election issue, with the two major parties offering vastly different policies. How do they compare?
Do Australia's media laws need updating for the age of digital convergence? Communications Minister Senator Stephen Conroy thinks so. In his recent keynote address to the Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) he said that a re-elected Labor government would conduct a complete review.
The majority of data breaches and almost all data stolen (98 per cent) is the work of criminals outside the victim organisation. That's according to the 2010 Data Breach Investigations Report published by Verizon Business last week.